Astronomy blog

Loud Noise Last Week was a Sonic Boom from a Meteor

By travel
5/16/2011, 4:22:36 AM

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AccuWeather.com facebook fanpage member Daniel Vogler pointed this out to me a few days ago. Imagine being woken up by this sound, which can be read about by clicking here.

"A sonic boom is pressure wave, and it mimics an explosion," Joe Zawodny, a senior research scientist at NASA Langley Research Center told Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site of SPACE.com. "They can be quite forceful, and can definitely rattle walls and windows."

Several worried people called 911 and reported a loud noise that rattled their screen doors and windows last Tuesday evening. One woman told the local television station, WAVY, that it felt like an earthquake.

Sonic booms from meteors are not a rare event, occurring a dozen times a year over the U.S. This rock was most likely a remnant of a meteor shower associated with Halley's Comet that peaked on May 6, the eta Aquarid meteor shower.

Being close to many military bases, a sonic boom from a jet was a possibility. After doing a little research, Zawodny ruled out that possibility.


meteor

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