By Guy Page
A loud, fiery 10 lb., six-inch wide meteor flashed over Northeastern Vermont Sunday evening, according to NASA Meteor Watch. Its passing sounded “like big trucks crashing,” according to young eyewitnesses in Johnson.
“Eyewitnesses in the Northeast and Canada are reporting seeing a bright fireball this evening around 5:38 PM Eastern Standard Time,” Meteor Watch reported. “Analysis of their reports shows that the meteor occurred over northern Vermont, first appearing at a height of 52 miles (84 kilometers) above Mount Mansfield State Forest.
“Moving northeast at 47,000 miles per hour (21 kilometers per second), it traversed 33 miles (53 kilometers) through the upper atmosphere before burning up 33 miles (53 kilometers) above Beach Hill in Orleans County south of Newport,” Meteor Watch said.
NASA “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.
The meteor drew numerous comments from Vermonters on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page.
“I heard it, but didn’t realize what it was,” Mike Covey said. “Bummer, because I look out my picture window at Mount Mansfield.”
“I heard the rumble in North Cambridge, thought it might be the F35s going over again – which a half dozen, or more did this morning. Didn’t think anything of it, other than it didn’t last long,” Morgan Bartlau said.
Ken Bisceglio of Waterbury Center said, “the boom shook my house like an explosion nearby and heard a quick higher pitch shreeking sound over head. Sound may have been slightly to the north and traveling from west to east.”
“Heard it in Essex!,” Misty Dawn said. “My son was outside and said, ‘I felt it run up my back and in my stomach. The car rattled under the vibration of the shock wave. At 5:42pm.”
“My arithmetic says it took about 5-6 seconds to burn up. That’s a long time in “shooting star” years,” Mike Witham said.
In Bristol, CJ Hudson said, “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. I thought it sounded a little abnormal. Interesting explanation!”
“Heard it in Johnson, VT,” Shannon Lemley-Willis said. “Kids were playing outside and described it as ‘big trucks crashing.’”