A fireball streaks across the sky north of Reno, Nevada, in a picture taken Sunday morning by local resident Lisa Warren.
Part of the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower, which peaked this past weekend, the bright object and its resulting sonic boom surprised many in Nevada and California, according to Space.com.
"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.
For stargazers, the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower was one of the best sky shows in years, peaking as it did on a moonless night.
—With reporting by Andrew Fazekas