The sun had just set over California on Sunday, March 8, when the sky filled with flaming objects falling to the ground.
Traffic slowed to a halt on a stretch of Interstate 80 running between the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. Police were flooded with worried calls about a possible plane crash.
But the spectacle that caught the attention of hundreds of motorists and other witnesses was an enormous shower of meteors visible across a 200-mile swath of sky.
Coast Guard Lt. Alan Tubbs called it "the king of all meteor showers." Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles confirmed that the meteor shower stretched from Sacramento southwest all the way to Monterey.
This was only the latest in an unprecedented number of meteor-related events over the Unites States in recent months. No official explanation for this activity has been given, but some astronomers have suggested that the earth is now passing through what remains of the tail of Comet Hale-Bopp.
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