"There was this light streaking across the sky. I just started snapping pictures and managed to get three frames as it was exploding. It was so bright, we were seeing spots after. I just thought, 'I can't believe I got three pictures of that,'" Warren told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Fireballs are rare, unusually particularly bright meteors. When they do occur, they make "quite a spectacular sight for observers," said Raminder Singh Samra, a resident astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, Canada.
A Lyrid meteor, or shooting star, darts above a barn in rural Oregon on Saturday.
"Typical hourly rates for the Lyrids can run between 10 and 20 meteors," Samra said. "However, rates as high as a hundred meteors per hour are not uncommon."
Photograph by Robin Loznak, Zuma Press
Streaking over "a persistent glowing arc low on the horizon," a Lyrid meteor enlivens an aurora over Marquette, Michigan, in the predawn hours of Sunday, according to photographer Shawn Malone, writing on Spaceweather.com.
As with most other annual meteor showers, the Lyrids are thought to be caused by sand grain-size debris left over from a passing comet.
When a comet gets close to the sun, its ices vaporize, releasing dust grains and sometimes small lumps of rock that settle into orbit around the sun.
For most of Saturday night, clouds hid the Lyrid meteor shower from Yuichi Takasaka in Lumby, Canada. But "luckily it went clear after a while and we could see some Lyrids and also very faint auroras on the northern horizon!" Takasaka wrote to the World at Night (TWAN) website for night-sky photographers.
The Lyrids are thought to originate from comet Thatcher, whose 416-year orbit is nearly perpendicular to the plane of the solar system. That means the comet's debris trail doesn't experience many gravitational disturbances from planets, asteroids, and other comets.
Astronomers believe this stable stream of debris may be the reason the Lyrids have been a reliable sky show for centuries.
A Lyrid meteor makes cuts through the watermelon hues of an aurora over Culdaff Beach in Ireland early Sunday.
Auroras occur when large numbers of charged particles from the sun encounter Earth's magnetic shield. Most of these particles get corralled toward the Poles, where they slam into atmospheric gases such as nitrogen and oxygen, releasing energy visible as colored light.