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Meteor Travelling At 42,000mph 'Rattles' Buildings As It Explodes Above Earth

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Meteor Travelling At 42,000mph 'Rattles' Buildings As It Explodes Above Earth

A meteor travelling at 42,000mph 'rattled' buildings as it flew over the US earlier this week.

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Residents in Vermont were shaken when they heard, what is believed to have been a 'fragment of an asteroid', whizz by and break up up miles above them.

Local reports stated it flew 33 miles through the upper atmosphere, above Mount Mansfield State Forest to Beach Hill near Newport.

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According to NASA, more than 100 people claimed to have witnessed the 'fireball', hearing the immense sound as it burned up.

A post from the space station to Facebook read: "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.

Credit: Burlington International Airport
Credit: Burlington International Airport

"About 30 miles up, the pressure difference between front and back exceeded its structural strength.

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"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; the wave itself can be detected by infrasound (low frequency sound that can travel great distances) stations.

"In the case of last night, we were obtained infrasound measurements from 3 nearby stations - the amplitudes and durations of the signals put the energy of the fireball fragmentation at 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of TNT.

"We can combine this energy with the speed to get a mass and size of the object - 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter."

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It added: "A nice little firework, courtesy of Mother Nature."

A map showing all the reported sightings of the Vermont meteor. Credit: NASA/OpenStreetMap
A map showing all the reported sightings of the Vermont meteor. Credit: NASA/OpenStreetMap

Some of those who witnessed the astronomical event commented on the post to share what they saw.

One parent wrote: "My son Andrew saw this over Maine, the leading small meteor then the fireball."

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Another said: "I saw this through my car windshield while driving home from my sister's. I thought it was a missile."

A third wrote: "I saw it from my window in Colchester looking east over Mt Mansfield. Heard the sonic boom what I thought was 90 seconds later but could be off on that. It was super bright white and broke up into a few pieces."

While another offered a slightly more ominous take on it, adding: "A high velocity fireball in Vermont, a couple of weeks ago another one in Alberta.

"I wonder if there were more in other parts of the world, didn't the Armageddon movie started like that?"

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Let's hope not, eh?

Featured Image Credit: Burlington International Airport

Topics: Science, World News, US News, Nasa, Weird, space, astronomy

Dominic Smithers
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