A bowling ball-sized meteor startled residents in the state of Vermont last Sunday when it exploded, creating Earth-shaking booms and a spectacular light show.
The unexpected detonation released a whopping 440 pounds (200 kilos) of TNT, according to NASA Meteor Watch. Scientists estimate its size at around 10 pounds and 6 inches in diameter.
Fireball over northern Vermont
Eyewitnesses in the NorthEast and Canada are reporting seeing a bright fireball this…
NASA reports the meteor was traveling at about 42,000 mph (68,000 kph) when it crossed into our atmosphere and appeared over the northern part of Vermont as a bright fireball. This all occurred just before sunset at 5:38 PM EST.
According to Space.com, NASA estimates that the fireball first appeared 52 miles (84 km) over Mount Mansfield State Forest just east of Burlington, the state’s largest city. It then progressed 33 miles (53 km) northeast toward the Canadian border, disappearing 33 miles (53 km) above the ground south of the town of Newport.
According to NASA, the shock wave was a result of the meteor fracturing due to atmospheric pressure. As the bowling ball-size chunk of a larger parent asteroid moved at nearly 55 times the speed of sound through the atmosphere, pressure built up in front of it and a vacuum formed behind it. Eventually, the stress of that differential caused the rock to explode.
In comments on NASA’s initial Facebook post about the incident, people claimed to have seen the rock from as far west as Saratoga, New York, as far north as Quebec, and as far east as Watertown, Massachusetts.
Image Credit: New York Post (Artist’s rendition)