What was that flare in the sky?

By Maureen Robertson

Something in the sky caught the attention of young soccer players practicing in the soccer fields in Ramona Community Park Wednesday evening.

Their “oh, look” sent all eyes upward.

“It was definitely a big glow up there, shooting by,” said Ramona resident Kim Lasley, who was at the fields. “…Once it went past the hill, we couldn’t see it.”

One woman thought it may be a small plane on fire, said Lasley, adding, “We were waiting to see if we would see an explosion.”

The director of Griffith Park Observatory said that what was seen over the skies of Southern California and Arizona Thursday evening was probably “a piece of interplanetary debris” that “passed through the earth’s atmosphere and burned up.”

The public “saw something that was at a very high altitude, just a piece of rock or maybe a grain of sand as it hit the atmosphere,’’ Dr. Ed Krupp, observatory director, said. “What people are really seeing is superheated air… you’re seeing the luminous trail of its passing.’’

Reports from Chatsworth to Palm Springs and Phoenix began about 7:30 p.m., according to an official at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Los Angeles operations office.

Curt Kaplan of the National Weather Service told KCAL9 that there were plenty of reports of lights going from west to east.

To Krupp, “all the evidence suggests it was small and burned up at a high altitude. This kind of thing happens about once a year or once every few years. Few people see them because most of the earth is ocean and uninhabited and then it gets forgotten until it happens again.’’

Lasley’s question — where did it land — perhaps is answered by Krupp’s explanation that whatever it was burned in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Sentinel readers who have other ideas about the “big glow” in the sky are invited to comment.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Sep 15 2011. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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