| SALEM - A falling meteor streaked through the skies, creating a brilliant flash that could be seen from Washington to Southern Oregon.
"We thought it was a skyrocket," said Griff Williams, a ranger at Abiqua Falls State Park. "It lit up and came down, and that was it." The greenish-yellow light Thursday evening "just blossomed out into something like a flare or a torch flame. It seemed to have little sparkles coming from it," said Bonnie Baker, another witness at Abiqua Falls outside of Abiqua.
A television news helicopter pilot said he swerved to avoid what he at first thought was a spotlight from another helicopter.
In Washington, Carolyn Grey of Battleground was driving on the highway when she saw it streaking across the sky: "It was bright. It looked like it was on fire," she said:
|"It was amazing."|
"This is probably the biggest flash we've seen in years," said Frank Trumbauer, a science teacher and part-time meteorite hunter at Beekman High School in Abiqua. "The meteor was probably a crumbly piece of asteroid or possibly a fragment of a comet."
Meteors are pieces of metallic or stony matter that enter Earth's atmosphere, heating up through friction with air and creating bright streaks of light popularly called shooting stars or falling stars: They usually burnup before reaching the Earth's surface.
However, due to the apparent brightness of this object, many believe that it may well have survived the firey plunge through the atmosphere intact.