What caused a mysterious series of sonic booms heard from England to upstate New York on Sunday? We have an answer!
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A series of mysterious loud booms were heard over England and New York on Sunday leaving millions of people wondering what could be the cause. Some experts have suggested the booms were caused by a super-secret spy plan, but was it?
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Sunday, people across England and in upstate New York reported hearing a series of inexplicable booms. Most people attributed the noise to domestic causes, such as local construction, but the late hour in England ruled out construction.
The sound of the booms was very similar to thunder, or what the sound of distant fireworks would be, but the skies were clear of thunderstorms across the England. The mysterious noise prompted a wave of calls to the police stations.
Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, the same phenomenon occurred in upstate New York. Residents in Buffalo heard the noise distinctly and noted that the sound was loud enough to rattle windows. And it wasn't a single boom either, but rather a series of acoustic shocks.
Twitter also lit up with questions and commentary, with some attributing the phenomenon to an earthquake in New York. It is true that there was a microquake in New York at the same time, but seismologists say it would have been much too small to be felt.
Many theorists immediately blamed a secret spy plane, codenamed "Aurora."
The Aurora spy plane may or may not exist. It has only been mentioned once, and by accident. A single line of "black funding" for a top secret military project was unredacted in a Congressional budget report and picked up by the media in 1985. The line referenced "Aurora," and nothing more. This led theorists to speculate that the military was developing a hypersonic replacement for the SR-71 spy plane.
The military continues to deny that such a project exists. The SR-71 was retired in 1998, ostensibly because it was replaced by spy satellites. However experts have warned that relying on satellites means waiting until the satellite passes over a particular area to take pictures. For some reconnaissance needs, a fast-moving, high-flying, long-range jet remains the best option.
Without the SR-71 in service, it is likely the plane has been replaced by another craft of some sort.
However, while the Aurora (unofficially designated the SR-72) could be responsible, others suggest that a large meteor or even space debris could be responsible.
Whether an aircraft or space debris, or a meteor, all are capable of producing loud sonic booms which could conceivably carry for hundreds, even thousands of miles. As the sound waves reverberate through the atmosphere, some places will hear the sound better that others, even if they are farther away from the source.
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The sonic booms sound irregular to even a casual listener of the audio. As such, it is less likely that the booms have a deliberate, mechanical origin, which would produce a steady series of identical shockwaves. The variations are better explained by the detonation of a massive meteor, probably over the Atlantic, which simply went unobserved by chance, since the Atlantic is populated only by fishing and cargo vessels. If the meteor came down in an area outside of human view, then all we would detect would be the sonic booms of its impact with the atmosphere.
Infrasound listening stations, built during the Cold War to listen for nuclear explosions, should have also caught the noise, but so far no word on those has come from any official source.
Until the data can be better analyzed, speculation will run rampant. However, it should be noted that the sounds could have had multiple causes and might not necessarily be the result of a decades-old secret government project.
For the record, we think it was most likely a meteor.
Listen to the audio on this video at the 2:57 mark. This is a video of the sound the Chelyabinsk meteor made as it broke up over Russia.
What do you think it was?
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