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‘Ball Of Fire’ Lights Up Bay Area Skies

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A meteor (L) from the Geminids meteor shower enters the Earth's atmosphere. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

A meteor (L) from the Geminids meteor shower enters the Earth’s atmosphere. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A ball light that was spotted above the Bay Area early Thursday morning was likely a fireball, a local astronomer said.

The almost blinding light was seen around 5:30 a.m., Chabot Space and Science Center astronomer Ben Burress said. Calls in to KCBS began immediately.

“It was widely spotted,” Burress said.

Fireballs are meteors that explode, becoming highly visible.

He said the brilliant event was not related to any meteor shower, and that fireball sightings are “rogue events” and fairly rare.

It is close to impossible to measure or track fireballs since they happen so sporadically, Burress said.

The object was seen throughout the Bay Area, from Martinez to the Peninsula. There were also reports from the Central Valley – as far north as Corning, and as far south as Fresno.

Several people posting on a website for fireball sightings said it’s the brightest possible meteor they’ve ever seen. A woman in Marysville said she thought it was an exploding airplane.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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