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A Bright Meteor Streaked Across the Vermont Sky, Shaking Buildings in Its Path

News Astronomy
by Eben Diskin Mar 9, 2021

The people of Vermont got quite a scare on Sunday night, as a meteor traveling 42,000 miles per hour was spotted streaking across the sky in the northern part of the state.

It was seen traveling northwest across 33 miles, from Mount Mansfield State Forest to Beach Hill in Orleans County south of Newport, CNN reported. About 100 people witnessed the celestial phenomenon and even felt and heard it as it shook buildings on Earth and produced a sound.

“As the object (which was likely a fragment of an asteroid) penetrated deeper into the atmosphere, pressure built up on its front while a partial vacuum formed behind it. About 30 miles up, the pressure difference between front and back exceeded its structural strength. The space rock fragmented violently, producing a pressure wave that rattled buildings and generated the sound heard by those near the trajectory. Such a pressure wave can also couple into the ground, causing minor “tremors” that can be picked up by seismic instruments in the area,” NASA Meteor Watch explained on Facebook.

The fireball was captured by a camera at the Burlington International Airport. You can see the meteor streaking across the sky in the upper left.

Based on the infrasound measurements, the agency was able to determine that the meteor weighed about 10 pounds and had a diameter of six inches.

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