EDINBURGH, Ind. (WXIN) – Scientists believe the loud boom that was heard across several counties in South Central Indiana recently was caused by a meteor explosion.
Scientists at Purdue watched surveillance videos that captured the noise and believe the boom can be attributed to an “air burst.”
“Essentially when a meteor is entering the atmosphere it will essentially explode in the atmosphere and they can make a loud boom,” Purdue planetary scientist Brandon Johnson said.
Johnson said it’s likely similar to the “air burst” that happened in the skies over Chelyabinsk in Russia back in 2013. That incident lit up the sky and caused major damage on the ground.
“If it was big enough to make that loud an explosion it should’ve been seen but it was a pretty cloudy day,” Johnson said. “If there was enough cloud cover it’s possible that no one saw it but it still did occur above the clouds.”
The boom was large enough to show up on seismic scales at Indiana University.
“There was a significant pulse of seismic energy recorded on our instruments at 12:44 p.m. yesterday,” geophysics professor Michael Hamburger said. “If this coincides with the timing of the reports, it is likely the result of the sonic disturbance experienced by local residents.”
The American Meteor Society said it took two reports of meteor sightings yesterday afternoon. One of those reports came in from Columbus, the other from Bloomington.
Based on those reports the society was able to triangulate the impacted location and said it was likely a “fireball meteor.”
Johnson said it’s a good reminder that a lot happens out in space.
“It’s a reminder that we need to stay vigilant and know how to protect ourselves and detect these before they happen,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that if it was a meteor then it’s likely that parts of it made it to the ground.
He said they’ll likely be small rocks with a black coating on them.
The American Meteor Society is encouraging anyone who saw anything to report it to them. You can report those at amsmeteors.org.