Strange lights in sky likely Taurid meteors

EVERETT — Another night, another fireball.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of streaking light in the night sky around 10:15 p.m. Thursday. It was similar to reports on Halloween night from people seeing a strange light in north Snohomish and Skagit counties.

One caller on Halloween described a large explosion of white light and thought it might have been a plane crash off I-5.

Shari Ireton, the sheriff’s office spokeswoman, did some investigating Friday morning. She talked to a NASA scientist who believes he has an explanation: Taurid meteors.

He referred her to a NASA web page that offers a description of why the fireballs often can be seen each fall.

“Every year in late October and early November … Earth passes through a river of space dust associated with Comet Encke,” the NASA site says. “Tiny grains hit our atmosphere at 65,000 mph. At that speed, even a tiny smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light — a meteor — when it disintegrates. Because these meteors shoot out of the constellation Taurus, they’re called Taurids.”

Taurids first were discovered in 1869 and have been dubbed “Halloween fireballs” because of the time of year they appear.

Ireton said it was a great science lesson.

The sightings can be common on crisp, clear nights in the fall.

Curiosity seekers might be hard pressed to find the comet remnants.

“The chance of finding them is going to be pretty remote because they are very tiny-like pebbles entering the atmosphere,” Ireton said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Former Everett councilman also sued his employer, the county

Ron Gipson says he suffered racial discrimination related to an investigation into sexual harassment.

Teen charged with murder in shooting over car

A Lynnwood teen has been charged with second-degree murder for… Continue reading

Most Read