The director of Griffith Park Observatory said that what was seen over the skies of Southern California and Arizona Wednesday night 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," said Ed Krupp. "What people are really seeing is superheated air... you're seeing the luminous trail of its passing."The reports from San Diego 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 said that there were plenty of reports of lights going from west to east.I was just outside smoking when I saw it zoom by, said 10News viewer Mike Naegel. It only seemed to last for 10-15 seconds. It seemed to be moving 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."