Meteors & Meteoric Fireballs (Observed Aloft)

eburacum

Papo-furado
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Aug 26, 2005
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That fireball woke me up! I live on the Devon end of the Blackdown Hills and I was woken up by a terrific rumbling / roaring sound which I thought was one of those large military planes flying very low up the valley (which we get from time to time, but never at night). Just after that there was a bright (moving) glow of light that shone in through the velux window (in our converted attic) for a couple of seconds.
This is an interesting Fortean phenomenon in itself. Sound is much slower than light, so the sound should have been several seconds after the light. But many people report the sound first, or simultaneously with the visible sighting.
 

kamalktk

Antediluvian
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Feb 5, 2011
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6,516
This is an interesting Fortean phenomenon in itself. Sound is much slower than light, so the sound should have been several seconds after the light. But many people report the sound first, or simultaneously with the visible sighting.
Most likely: It's making sound before it lights up enough to be noticable.
 

Robin

Fresh Blood
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Jul 17, 2021
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9
This is an interesting Fortean phenomenon in itself. Sound is much slower than light, so the sound should have been several seconds after the light. But many people report the sound first, or simultaneously with the visible sighting.
Yes that's a very good point and something I've been thinking about since my first post. It only occurred to me after I posted my experience that it was a bit strange that the sound had come first, when you would expect it to come after (like with lightning and thunder).

All I actually remember is being woken up by that noise and then after that seeing the unusual light. I can't remember exactly how long it was after the sound that the light appeared but it was soon after (but not immediately).

What I do know is the sound definitely came first because that's what woke me up.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
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Jul 19, 2004
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An incoming meteor / fireball big enough and near enough to hear will track for a long time across the sky. The sound you initially heard came from earlier in its flight.

Some years ago I (along with my then-wife and another couple) were camping atop a mountain. That night we were sitting on a scenic rock outcropping that allowed us a vista extending for dozens of miles. We saw a bolide approaching from the south and watched it until it disappeared from sight at the northern horizon. About halfway along its whole-sky trajectory the bolide exploded into 3 or 4 fiery chunks. The chunks that remained visible made it all the way to the northern horizon before the really loud percussive blast from the mid-course breakup arrived something like 15 seconds after it happened (I was counting the seconds). Anyone who'd heard the dramatic boom first would have had the opportunity to look up and see the still-flaming remnants of the bolide.
 
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