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Sonic Boom Heard Across Four Countries Caused By Rare 'Daytime Fireball' Meteor

Representative Image.

Representative Image.

Meteorologists and other experts have concluded the noise heard in England was caused by a very rare meteor, known as a 'daytime fireball'.

Residents across multiple counties in England were rocked by loud banging noise around late afternoon on Saturday. After careful deliberation, meteorologists and other experts have concluded the noise was caused by a very rare meteor, known as a ‘daytime fireball’. The sonic boom was heard in Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Jersey, following a streak of light in the sky. The experts deducted it was a meteor, using pictures and videos taken by multiple people and automated camera systems. Residents have been requested to keep an eye out for any fallen space rock fragments.  The meteor is believed to have crashed into the Bristol Channel.

According to BBC, a specialist in aviation meteorology at the University of Oxford — Simon Proud — captured the meteor flying over the UK on a weather satellite. It reportedly appeared like a bright flash on the system.

The bunch of meteors that can produce a “daytime fireball” is the brightest of “bolide” class , according to Richard Kacerek, from the UK Meteor Observation Network of amateur astronomers. To be seen during the daytime, like the one spotted on Saturday, it must be very large.

As reported in Yahoo, Ian Dryhust, driving on Jersey in the Channel Islands, captured the fireball as bright light crossing the sky on his dashcam footage.

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Astro-enthusiasts from these counties are already looking for evidence of the space rock.

Dr Ashley King told BBC that the fireball must have been “going faster than the speed of sound.” King is a member of UK Fireball Alliance, a group of enthusiasts/experts who hunt for freshly-fallen meteorites.

Experts are curating data from security/traffic/amateur cameras to analyse and track the meteor’s path. In February, cameras like these captured a falling meteor at night. One can’t be sure if it works for day time as well.

The loud bang had confused the residents of the aforementioned site at first. Some questioned whether it was an earthquake, which The British Geological Survey ruled out. Others wondered if some military aircraft caused the noise, but the Ministry of Defence declared the “massive bang was not linked to any RAF aircraft.”

Astronomer and Science journalist Will Gater was the first to link the noise to a meteor, which is now accepted by the majority.

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first published:March 22, 2021, 20:52 IST