Video: Meteor lights up the sky as it explodes above San Francisco
The exploding meteor was visible over northern parts of California, including San Francisco Bay, and reports said the light show was accompanied by a loud boom.
Philip Terzian, an amateur astronomer who captured a photograph of the meteor from a ridge around Palo Alto, told the Daily Mail: "It looked like a plane crash or rocket."
According to Jonathan Braidman, an astronomy instructor with the Chabot Space & Science Centre in Oakland, the sound people reported could have been a sonic boom from the meteor travelling faster than the speed of sound.
Braidman said the meteor was likely to have been comprised of metal and rock from the asteroid belt.
Astronomers at the centre compared its size to that of a car, although Braidman said it probably broke into much smaller pieces before hitting the ground and scattering over hundreds of miles.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Wednesday's light streak comes as astronomers predict a more dramatic light display this weekend that is part of the Orionid meteor shower, named so because it has the Orion constellation as a backdrop.
The Orion meteors are space debris from Halley's Comet, and they become visible as the earth crosses through their trail.
Wednesday's meteor and the Orionid shower are not thought to be connected.
See the footage here:
Just last month, a British photographer captured the most breathtaking pictures of the recent meteor shower across Britain.
Thomas Heaton grabbed his camera in time when the magnificent sight trailed through the sky over a Scottish loch.
When the meteor appeared over the UK on Friday 21 September, Thomas was in the right place at the right time and chose Galloway Forest, the darkest area of Britain and the UK's first Dark Sky Park.
Photographer captures jaw-dropping meteor streak across Scottish loch
Meteor explodes over Wales creating sonic boom that set off car alarms
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