Fireball Flies Over Vermont, Other Parts of Northeast at Over 47,000 Mph

A fireball zoomed across the sky on Sunday, according to eyewitnesses in the northeastern United States and parts of Canada.

The American Meteor Society (AMS) said on Facebook it had received more than 100 reports of a fireball being seen over Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and the Canadian province of Québec at around 5:38 p.m. ET on March 7.

NASA Meteor Watch said it had also received reports of the fireball, with analysis showing that the meteor occurred over northern Vermont, first appearing at an altitude of 52 miles above Mount Mansfield State Forest in the north of the state.

The meteor moved northeast at around 47,000 miles per hour, traveling 33 miles through the Earth's upper atmosphere before burning up 33 miles above Beach Hill in Orleans County, Vermont.

NASA said Meteor Watch hoped to refine the trajectory of the meteor as it received more reports from the public.

Fireball is another term for a very bright meteor. Usually, they are brighter than magnitude -4, which is around the same for the planet Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky, according to the AMS.

Meteors, colloquially known as shooting stars, are the streaks of light that we see in the sky when space rocks—asteroids or meteoroids—enter the Earth's atmosphere.

Some eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud boom in addition to seeing the meteor, which was visible for just a few seconds.

One Facebook user, Werner Bartlau, said in reply to the NASA Meteor Watch post: "I heard the rumble in North Cambridge [Massachusetts], 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."

Another Facebook user, CJ Hudson, had a similar experience. He 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 [Connecticut]. I thought it sounded a little abnormal."

Another eyewitness, Shannon Lemley-Willis, in Johnson, Vermont, said her kids were playing outside when the fireball passed overhead, with her children describing the noise as "big trucks crashing."

Meanwhile, eyewitness Loretta King, who was in St. Albans, Vermont, at the time, said she was in her car and saw the bright yellowish glow of what she thought was a "missile in the sky," describing the sight as "amazing."

Some cameras even managed to capture footage of the fireball. For example, Twitter user Jeremy LaClair spotted the meteor in footage captured by a webcam at Burlington International Airport.

For anyone who was wondering about the big boom / meteor earlier today in #btv #vermont , I dug through some webcam footage and found this on the WCAX / BTV Airport webcam- watch the upper left.

— Jeremy LaClair (@JeremyLaclair) March 8, 2021
Meteoroid flying towards planet Earth
Stock image showing a meteoroid flying towards planet Earth. A fireball was spotted streaking across the sky in parts of the northeastern United States on Sunday. iStock