Big boom likely a meteor

People get nervous when they hear about big meteors buzzing Earth a little close for comfort.  But smaller meteors can be relatively harmless and even entertaining.

Early Sunday morning, residents of Northern California and Nevada reported hearing a loud boom in the sky above the Sierra.

Several television stations and police departments receives calls about the sound.  The Tuolumne County sheriff’s department is investigating whether the sound might have been caused by a meteor.

This theory would make sense given reports of the Lyrid meteor shower Saturday night, a yearly event caused by the Earth’s passing through the orbit of a comet.  The shower peaked at somewhere between 20 and 30 meteors per hour.

No one has reported the supposed NorCal meteor striking the surface.  Meteorologist Rob Mayeda says the meteor would likely have been a bolide rock, and would have burned up before hitting the ground.

As logical as Mayeda’s explanation sounds, though, we could still pretend it was extraterrestrial activity that caused the boom.  Maybe aliens abducted somebody and accidentally blew him up during the probing.  Even though it’s highly improbable, it sounds like a lot more interesting.