Re: Not a meterorite
It's literally boiling the water in the atmosphere as it comes in.
A masterly understatement. It's literally boiling the iron or whatever that it's made of. It's probably going past that, all the way to plasma. Afterwards, the iron, silicon, whatever condenses (as oxide, mostly) and hence the thick trail.
If you watch the car footage you can actually see the trail appearing to burn for a few seconds. I expect that's a Nitrogen - Oxygen fire, or possibly or additionally an Oxygen - Iron fire if the meteor was iron.
One of the worries prior to testing the first nuclear bomb was that it would ignite an (exothermic) Oxygen - Nitrogen combustion, that some thought might propagate to consume the Earth's entire atmosphere and everything living therein. I wonder if someone else pointed out that were that possible, a meteor strike would have done it long ago? Or did they just chance it?