The theories lit up the internet: An earthquake must have caused a prolonged boom that shook homes Sunday morning in New Hampshire and at least one neighboring state.
Some hypothesized that the puzzling disturbance might have been the sound of an aircraft breaking the sound barrier. Both scenarios were quickly discounted.
Now some meteorologists think they can explain the mystery.
Satellite imagery suggests that a meteor might have exploded in the atmosphere over New Hampshire, according to those meteorologists, who say that explanation is not at all far out.
This time of year, they pointed out, is known for intense meteor showers: the Draconids that peaked two days earlier and the Orionids that continue until November. The fireballs that explode in a bright terminal flash, often with visible fragmentation, are known as bolides, according to the American Meteor Society.
“Sure enough, there was a little blip there right around the time that folks started calling and reporting about the sound,” Greg Cornwell, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, the forecast office for New Hampshire, said Tuesday.
Cornwell said that the blip was detected by a geostationary weather satellite, known as GOES-16, that was used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. He and his colleagues reviewed the satellite feed from Sunday morning. On it, a blue dot flashed over southern New Hampshire around 11:21 a.m.