A meteor hurtling through the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound likely caused the sonic boom that startled many north Louisiana residents late Monday afternoon.

The apparent sonic boom happened just before 5 p.m. and affected the area southwest of Shreveport to around Vidalia.

Experts had suggested Tuesday the sonic boom could have been caused by high-speed aircraft or a meteor.

Lawrenceville, Ga. resident David Jones was driving on Interstate 85 in Atlanta early Monday night when he noticed a large, electric blue ring-shaped cloud in the western sky.

The amateur astronomer and lifelong weather watcher snapped a photo of the noctilucent cloud that likely formed when water molecules surrounded meteor dust particles stirred up when a meteor moved through the atmosphere.

Noctilucent clouds are rare and typically only form in polar regions.

Louisiana Delta Community College meteorologist Don Wheeler examined the photo and believes it's directly related to the apparent sonic boom.

"It makes very good sense," Wheeler said. "The cause of it is definitely pointing to a meteor."

Wheeler said he received a call Wednesday from a Bunkie resident who claims she saw a grey mass with no flames moving through the sky about the same time Monday.

The lack of flames could mean the meteor didn't burn and reached the ground, likely somewhere in a low-traffic, wooded area, Wheeler said.

Some Memphis residents also reported seeing a gray mass hurtling through the sky late Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the noise that rattled windows.

"We had several inquiries about the noise, but have no firm answer as to what it was," FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

"A sonic boom is a possibility we're looking into, but it's possible we may not get a firm answer."