A meteor caused the mystery ‘sonic boom’ that was felt across South West England this afternoon, astronomers believe, and it was caught on camera streaking across the sky.
A taxi driver in Jersey caught the meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrating at the same time as residents took to social media after hearing the blast and feeling an accompanying shockwave at around 3pm today.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence told MailOnline that the bang was not linked to any RAF activity.
The meteor was caught on a taxi driver’s dashcam in Jersey as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated
Astronomer Will Gater confirmed on social media this evening that he believes the bright light seen in the skies this afternoon was in fact a bolide meteor.
A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation.
One person told Devon Live: ‘I’m from Payhembury and I just heard what sounded like a big explosion.
‘It was this big bass-y boom that reverberated for a good 20 seconds or so, followed by a series of popping noises.
‘I’ve checked and people as far as Dorset also heard it.’
Meanwhile Stephen Griffiths, from Watchet in Somerset said he felt the vibration ‘boom’ through his greenhouse.
He told Somerset Live: ‘I was in the greenhouse of my back garden and heard it very loudly. I felt the vibration of the boom through the greenhouse floor slabs and my small greenhouse shook.’
Elsewhere Twitter user Ollie Peart took to social media to share a clip of the suspected sonic boom and asked: ‘Massive bang over #Dorchester around 20 minutes ago. Any sound nerds know what it is? #Dorset.’
Meanwhile another clip shared by a resident in Devon showed a plane flying over the area in the aftermath of the ‘sonic boom’.
Twitter user Ollie Peart shared footage on social media after a ‘massive bang’ was heard over Dorchester
Mr Peart asked other social media users if they knew where the sound may have come from
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘We are aware of reports of a ‘loud band’ or a ‘sonic boom’ but are unaware of the source at this time.’
What is a Bolide?
A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor which is about as bright as Venus in the morning or evening sky.
A Bolide is a special type of fireball that explodes in a bright flash at its end.
Several thousands of meteors of fireball magnitude shoot across the Earth’s atmosphere every day.
But the vast majority of them happen over the oceans and uninhabited regions and many are masked by daylight.
A fireball has to be brighter than magnitude -6 to be visible in the day.
Vivid colours are also sometimes reported by observers.
People on Twitter have since speculated on the cause as one wrote: ‘There was a giant boom over a large area where I live, I heard it too.
‘It wasn’t a sonic boom from an aircraft though so nobody knows what it was.’
Another added: ‘Think we heard the #sonicboom about an hour ago in Somerset…ran upstairs thinking something heavy had crashed on the floor!!!!
‘Flushed face even went out to look at the roof Face with tears of joy #Somerset #SonicBoom.’
And a third commented: ‘Still can’t see report of #sonicboom like sound yet. I was up on Quart Moor on the Bkackdowns and it was loud, like louder than thunder, shook the ground slightly, but clearly a long way off.
‘Sounded like it was from Yeovil direction. Seen reported all over Somerset and Dorset.’
The incident comes just a month after a sonic boom was heard along the North Cornwall coast.
Residents near the town of Bude took to social media to report hearing a massive bang after the ‘huge explosion’ shook their homes.
The cause of the ‘explosion’ was later found to be from a RAF aircraft completing a supersonic flight some 25 miles off the coast of Cornwall.
An RAF spokesperson later confirmed: ‘The sonic boom heard in the Cornwall area was caused by RAF F-35 Lightning aircraft completing operational training inside the supersonic offshore range area, any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted.’
In January, a sonic boom caused windows to shake in Norwich after an RAF Hawk aircraft completed a high-speed dive as part of an air test schedule.
A fortnight before that, millions of people across Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Cambridge and north and south London also reported hearing an ‘explosion’.
Residents took to social media after hearing the blast and feeling an accompanying shockwave at around 3pm today
The Ministry of Defence confirmed that an RAF Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert jet had broken the sound barrier at around 700mph over Peterborough.
The jet intercepted a private Bombardier jet travelling from Germany which had lost communications with air traffic control, and escorted it to Stansted Airport at 1.40pm on January 12 – where it later remained parked.
A sonic boom is caused when an object breaks the sound barrier, meaning it travels through the air at a speed of 770mph.
Last month a home security camera in Ashington, Northumberland, captured a meteor explode in a fireball.
Ruth Rose, 25, got a text alert from her security camera after it detected suspicious movement outside her home in Ashington, on Thursday night.
It is believed the eight-second clip, shot at 9.18pm, shows a meteor known as a bolide crashing to earth and disintegrating in the atmosphere
When she and her partner Mark Newson, 26, checked the footage, they were stunned when they saw the celestial fireworks display lighting up the night sky.
It is believed the eight-second clip, shot at 9.18pm, shows a meteor – known as a bolide – crashing to earth and disintegrating in the atmosphere.
The incredible sight was spotted by hundreds of people across Northumberland, which is one of the best places in the UK to go star-gazing.