Yesterday afternoon, out in the garden. At 2.55pm a loud boom up in the sky, just to the south. A little like the sound of the live firing we sometimes hear from Salisbury Plain, when the MoD are playing with their toys.

Except this sound didn’t stop there. It continued with a kind of stuttering, throbbing quality, like a whole series of lesser ‘booms’, appearing to move to the west. For perhaps half a minute. Long enough for us to discuss it while it happened.

The sky was overcast so there was nothing to see.

I have heard sonic booms in the past. Including that of Concorde. This sound however, was quite different to any I’ve previously heard because of how long it continued for.

As an aside, a few months before Concorde was retired from service we were walking on the North Somerset coast. We heard a sonic boom out to the west and shortly after spotted the unmistakable shape of Concorde high above us. Fun to see such an iconic aircraft before it disappeared from the skies.

Looking around online it’s clear that yesterday’s noise was heard across much of the southwest, shaking windows and causing ducks to jump in the air! The RAF say it wasn’t them.

One theory is that it was caused by a meteor as there appeared to be one seen over Jersey at around the same time. It had never occurred to me that meteors can cause sonic booms.

I’d be very intrigued to know if it could be confirmed this was the source of yesterday’s sound.


Stephen James

Minding the gaps


© Stephen James 2021

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