‘Big and bright’ meteor tears across Vermont sky

A meteor has been filmed tearing through the night sky in Vermont before dramatically exploding.

The space rock, thought to be the size of a bowling ball, created a “spectacular” light show for those lucky enough to see it.

According to Nasa Meteor Watch, the meteor smashed into the atmosphere at about 42,000mph (68,000kph). Scientists estimated it weighed 10lb (4.5kg) and was 6ins (15cm) in diameter.

The space agency said a partial vacuum formed behind the meteor as it penetrated deeper into the atmosphere and pressure built up on its front, causing it to disintegrate.

“The space rock fragmented violently, producing a pressure wave that rattled buildings and generated the sound heard by those near the trajectory,” Nasa said.

Based on witness accounts, Nasa estimated the meteor first emerged over northern Vermont, 52 miles (84km) above Mount Mansfield State Forest, just east of Burlington, the state’s largest city.

The meteor then moved northeast at 47,000mph — or 21 km per second — and traversed 33 miles (53km) through the upper atmosphere before burning up 33 miles (53km) above Beach Hill in Orleans County, south of Newport.

“We heard a sonic boom followed by a dwindling rumble come from north by north east from here in the north east corner of Bristol,” witness CJ Hudson commented on Nasa’s Facebook post.

A second witness described the rock as “very big and bright,” while another said it was “bright red, and orange” and “bright white right before it broke into pieces and disappeared.”

Others said they witnessed the rock “come down red, orange and then broke into green pieces,” while there were also several reports of a “loud boom” when the meteor exploded.

“The boom shook my house like an explosion nearby and heard a quick higher pitch shreeking sound over head,” wrote Ken Bisceglio, of Waterbury Center in Vermont.

LiveScience reported that Chris Hrotic, a commenter on Nasa’s initial post about the meteor, said: “I was fortunate to hear and see it by the Missisquoi River at the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, VT, just before sunset.

“No loud boom as reported by others, but a rushing sound that made me look up at just the right moment. It was extremely bright and absolutely spectacular!”

Nasa signed off by describing the meteor as “a nice little firework, courtesy of Mother Nature.”