Sometimes the most amazing footage is shot completely by accident.
PermaGrin Films was in Santa Cruz, California a few nights ago, shooting some timelapse porn of the night sky and the Milky Way in particular, when they captured what appears to be an exploding meteor.
As the PermaGrin team describes it, "we saw a huge bright flash in the sky. It even lit up the entire ground. We looked up and saw a huge streak across the sky of burning dust." PermaGrin was shooting 15 second exposures, and they counted visible meteor dust in 50 frames—meaning the stardust was falling for longer than 12 minutes.
As for what causes meteors to explode, it's generally a result of air resistance and compressive force. While a more dense, iron-rich rock might make it to the ground, anything with a less hardy structure is prone to literally crumple under pressure.
The combusting meteor would be a true score for any avid watcher of the night sky, but even without that footage, it's an awe-inspiring shot of our galaxy. God, light pollution is the worst.