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Asteroid 'Firework' Exploded With Force of 440lbs of TNT

It was seen from 4 US states and Canada
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2021 7:28 AM CST

(Newser) – People in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Quebec, Canada, claim to have witnessed an asteroid breaking up in the sky on Sunday, which turned out to be rattling. Many people reported hearing a rumble or sonic boom as a 10-pound bowling ball-sized chunk of an asteroid—traveling at 42,000 miles per hour, or almost 55 times the speed of sound, per Live Science—"fragmented violently, producing a pressure wave that rattled buildings," according to NASA. WCAX reported receiving a flood of calls from people describing "a loud boom and a body-rattling vibration."

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Hundreds of skywatchers had first witnessed a "fireball" that appeared some 52 miles above Vermont's Mount Mansfield State Forest around 5:38pm. It had proceeded northeast toward the Canadian border when "about 30 miles up, the pressure difference between front and back exceeded its structural strength," says NASA, which puts the force of the fragmentation at 440 pounds of TNT. The space rock broke up some 33 miles above Vermont's Orleans County, which borders Quebec, per NBC News. "A nice little firework, courtesy of Mother Nature," as NASA put it, noting tremors were observed by seismic instruments. (Something similar happened in the UK, followed by a spectacular discovery.)

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