Did you hear that big giant meteor?

Who says that if you scream in space no one will hear you?

A rare daytime meteor was seen and heard streaking over northern Nevada and parts of California on Sunday, just after the peak of an annual meteor shower.

Observers in the Reno-Sparks area of Nevada reported seeing a fireball at about 8 a.m. local time, accompanied or followed by a thunderous clap that experts said could have been a sonic boom from the meteor or the sound of it breaking up high over the Earth.


Here’s an animation:

And now, a bonus question: Why do they call Sparks “Sparks”?


  1. #1 cope
    April 23, 2012

    What Nevada town was named after Nevada governor John Sparks?

    I’ll take “Potent Potables” for 20, Alex.

    I was a bit disappointed the answer was so mundane. I once worked on a well in Nevada, in the basin and range province. On an off-day, the other geologist and I took a hike and ended up on top of a steep hill. The bedrock was some kind of siliceous dolomite and we enjoyed a lengthy period of time around and after sundown trundling large rocks down the side of the hill. They created beautiful showers of sparks as they bounced their way down the hill, careening from one bit of exposed bedrock to another.

    As, the beauty of nature.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    April 23, 2012

    Yeah, that is a boring answer. I was thinking of a different town, a settlement called “sparks” near Somersville, California. Neither exists any more. That Sparks has an interesting name.

  3. #3 renoite
    April 23, 2012

    Most people I talked to today in Reno heard and felt the boom. At my house it felt like a small earthquake but without the shaking, or as if a heavy piece of furniture had fallen over upstairs. After I realized it hadn’t been an earthquake I assumed it was an explosion and went outside to look for smoke. It was startling enough to wake up a sleeping member of the family.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    April 23, 2012

    Did you see the thing in the sky, renoite?

  5. #5 renoite
    April 24, 2012

    I did not see it. I was inside at the time. I think many people heard it but only a few people happened to see it.

  6. #6 g724
    April 26, 2012

    It appears that a couple of small pieces of meteorite have been found in the desert in California, that appear to have come from this event.

  7. #7 Bob
    May 21, 2012

    I guess it won´t take long for the first meteorite hunters to get there. Let´s see what they will discover.