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'Did you see that?': B.C. onlookers dazzled by streaking meteor

One British Columbian thought it was someone shining a bright flashlight. "Got me out of bed."

A meteor streaking across the sky on Wednesday night dazzled people from British Columbia to Oregon and Washington. 

Onlookers from Surrey to Richmond, to Vancouver Island and Seattle, caught a glimpse of the flashing light just after 10 p.m. 

Aaron Boley, associate professor in the department of physics and astronomy at UBC, says sightings are not rare, but are quite brilliant. 

“Most of the meteors that people see are the small pieces of material … things that are maybe a millimetre in size or so that come into the atmosphere, and they get bright very quickly and go by. And you can see those on any given night, if you're in a kind of dark place and you're watching the sky.”

He adds if you're an avid sky watcher you’ll eventually see one this bright. The brightness of the space rock all depends on its size. The bigger it is, the brighter the light. Scientists call an exceptionally bright meteor a "bolide."

October is the month for the Orionids meteor shower; it's expected to peak around Oct. 20 and 21. The meteor shower is debris left by Halley's Comet.

According to the American Meteor Society, there were 143 reports of people seeing a fireball over British Columbia, Oregon and Washington Wednesday night. 

"I saw it on Lasqueti Island,” says Adam Enright. “I thought it was someone shining a bright flashlight! Got me out of bed.”

A woman living in Kelowna also spotted the fireball and wondered what it was.

“I was on Springfield Road and saw what looked like a meteor coming down on a 45-degree angle over [the] Peachland area,” recalls Patti Custaloe. “However, as it continued down, it appeared the tail turned a red, pink colour and the front was bright green.”

Many people took to social media to share their sighting but not everyone was able to capture video as they recall it flashing by “super quick.”

If you spotted the meteor and have video or photographs, email them to Alanna Kelly at

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