Meteor Explodes in the Sky of America with the Power of 200 Kilograms of TNT

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – A meteor streaked through the night over the US state of Vermont, on Sunday, March 7, 2021, creating a spectacular light show and causing an explosion that shook Earth as it burned the atmosphere.

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The trajectory of the meteor’s explosion as it passed through the atmosphere released the energy equivalent of 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of TNT, suggesting that the meteor was likely 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter, according to NASA Meteor Watch.

The space rock hit the atmosphere at a speed of about 42,000 mph (68,000 kph), according to NASA. It appeared in the northern part of the state as a bright fireball at 5:38 p.m. EST, before the sun goes down.

Local news station WCAX3 reported phone calls from across the state in the aftermath of the incident, while residents of Vermont described a “loud explosion and shaking body tremor” as the meteor flashed overhead.

“I was fortunate to hear and see him on the banks of the Missisquoi River at the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, VT, before sunset,” wrote Chris Hrotic, a commentator on NASA’s initial post about the event. “There were no loud explosions as reported by others, but a rumbling sound that made me look up at the right moment. Very bright and so spectacular!”

Based on eye witness records, NASA estimates that the fireball first appeared 52 miles (84 km) above the Mount Mansfield State Forest east of Burlington, the state’s largest city. It then advances 33 miles (53 km) northeast towards the Canadian border, disappearing 33 miles (53 km) above the ground south of the city of Newport.

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According to NASA, the shock wave was the result of meteor fracturing due to atmospheric pressure. When a bowling ball-sized chunk of a larger parent asteroid travels nearly 55 times the speed of sound through the atmosphere, pressure builds up in front of it and a vacuum forms behind it. Finally, the pressure from the difference caused the rock to explode.

In comments on NASA’s initial Facebook post about the incident, people claimed to have seen the meteor as far west of Saratoga, New York, as far north as Quebec, and as far east of Watertown, Massachusetts.



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