The likely asteroid fragment traveled at 42,000 miles per hour, producing a pressure wave that was heard and felt on the ground.
A suspected asteroid streaked though the skies over northern Vermont on Sunday, moving so fast and creating so much force that it rattled buildings on the ground, according to NASA.
The “fireball” was spotted by hundreds of sky-watchers around 5:38 p.m., NASA said on Facebook. It first appeared at 52 miles above Mount Mansfield State Forest before traveling 33 miles through the upper atmosphere and burning up 33 miles above Orleans County.
Commenters on NASA’s Facebook posts — from Vermont, New Hampshire and on the Canadian side of the border in Quebec — described hearing a “rumble” or “sonic boom” at the time the fireball was shooting through the sky. Some even said their houses shook during the incident.
The likely asteroid fragment traveled at 42,000 miles per hour and began to break up when the difference in pressure created by the vacuum behind the speeding object “exceeded its structural strength,” NASA said, causing a sound wave that sensitive seismometers detected in the area.
Using the infrasound measurements created by these seismic instruments, NASA calculated the object’s size as 10 pounds and six inches in diameter.
“The space rock fragmented violently, producing a pressure wave that rattled buildings and generated the sound heard by those near the trajectory,” NASA said.
“A nice little firework, courtesy of Mother Nature.”