A bright fireball travelling about 42,000 miles per hour hurtled through the sky above Vermont on Sunday night, rattling buildings and sending off a loud boom.
NASA Meteor Watch said the object was most likely a fragment of an asteroid and appeared about 52 miles above Mount Mansfield State Forest around 5:38 p.m. EST. It was seen by more than 100 people in Vermont and in Canada.
It travelled deep into the atmosphere as pressure built on its front, and a partial vacuum formed behind it, creating a pressure difference that became greater than 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,” NASA said in a Facebook post.
According to NASA, such a wave of pressure can cause minor tremors in the ground, and in this case, infrasound measurements helped scientists determine that the object weighed about 10 lbs., and had a diameter of 6 inches.
“A nice little firework, courtesy of Mother Nature,” NASA said.
Many people in the comments section of NASA’s post reported seeing the fireball, and some said they were initially confused as to what it was.
“I thought it was a missile,” one woman wrote. “Almost [in the] blink of an eye [it was] gone. So very awesome that I was able to see it.”