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Exploding meteor startled Utah

An exploding Perseid meteor was heard Saturday in Utah.



Potentially a Perseid meteor shattered the Saturday morning peace in Utah with a resounding boom.

The Deseret News reports that the sound alarmed residents of northern Utah at around 8:32 a.m. The sound was captured by a plethora of home security and doorbell cameras. After seismographs disproved an earthquake, the Salt Lake City office of the National Weather Service posted radar footage of two red flashes on a lightning monitor at a location where no storm was occurring. The meteor trail and flash were likely to blame for the flashes, according to the weather service.

The identification was quickly confirmed thanks to footage from a home security camera in Roy, Utah: The tweet shows a blue fireball zipping across the morning sky before the explosion.

The American Meteor Society received a slew of reports of the fireball.

A NASA volunteer told KSLTV that the explosion may have dispersed space rock fragments across the area, but no meteorites have been reported found as a result of the blast. Experts told the Deseret News that pinpointing the meteor’s origin after its destruction is unlikely, but that the Perseid meteor shower is a strong possibility.

Every year in July and August, the Earth passes through the comet 109P/Swift-debris Tuttle’s field, producing the spectacular Perseid meteor shower. According to the American Meteor Society, most of this debris is minuscule, but it enters Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 133,200 mph (214,360 km/h). The best days to see the Perseids this year were August 11 and 12.

According to CalTech’s CoolCosmos, sonic booms are caused by meteors traveling faster than the speed of sound through the atmosphere. The “boom” of a passing meteor usually occurs several seconds after the fireball is first seen, as light travels faster than sound. However, most meteors occur at such high altitudes that the resulting noise will never reach Earth.

Planetary rock falls from space fairly frequently. A fireball exploded over Ontario, Canada, earlier this year. Over Mississippi, another shower of small meteorites (rocks from space that crash to Earth) was observed. Damage-causing meteors occasionally rip through the atmosphere. A huge fireball exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013, shattering thousands of windows and causing a blinding flash of light. According to EarthSky, the meteor that caused the fireball was about 65 feet (20 meters) in diameter.

This article was first posted on Live Science.