Falling Meteor Creates Brilliant Flash Seen From California to New Mexico
c The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (Oct. 4) - A falling meteor streaked through the skies,
creating a brilliant flash that could be seen from California to New
''We thought it was a skyrocket,'' said Ignacio Tantajos, a ranger at Los
Angeles' sprawling Griffith Park. ''It lit up and came down and that was
The greenish-yellow light Thursday evening ''just blossomed out into
something like a flare or a torch flame. It seemed to have little sparkles
coming from it,'' said Patricia Dobbins, another witness at Griffith Park.
A television news helicopter pilot said he swerved to avoid what he at
first thought was a spotlight from another helicopter.
In New Mexico, Monica Gomez of Eldorado was driving on the highway when she
saw it streaking across the sky. ''It was bright. It looked like it was on
fire,'' she said. ''It was amazing.''
March Air Reserve Base control tower atmospheric observers said- the
meteor, which fell in a westerly direction shortly before 9 p.m.
''This is probably the biggest flash we've seen in two years,'' said John
Moseley, an astronomer at the Griffith Park Observatory. ''The meteor was
probably a crumbly piece of asteroid, or possibly a fragment of a comet.''
At first, some said it might have been a falling satellite. But the North
American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., which tracks
satellite debris, said the flash could not have been caused by any items it
was following and was likely a meteor or other natural phenomenon.
Meteors are pieces of metallic or stony matter that enter Earth's
atmosphere, heating up through friction with air and- creating bright
streaks of light popularly called shooting stars or falling stars. They
usually burn up before reaching the Earth's surface.