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© Wikimedia Commons
Bridge over Avon in Evesham
Mystery surrounds a loud noise which occurred at night over Evesham with no one able to come up with an explanation. The noise was hard by scores of residents in and around the Vale with many posting their experience on Facebook.

The sound has been described as ranging from a hurricane coming down the chimney, to a sonic boom, loud bangs or a roaring noise. Several people said they looked outside and saw lights. The noise was heard around 8pm on Friday October 30. Another said that though the noise appeared to come from the sky, it was felt as vibration under foot and through the building.

Posting on an Evesham forum, one man said: "It was not fireworks or thunder. We went out to look from Hampton and it was like Northern Lights over Beckford way. We watched the changing colours in the night clouds. It was the most weird sky I have ever seen with strange sounds too."

More than 205 responses were posted on social media with many saying they had heard something around Harvington, Sedgeberrow, Offenham and beyond. A number said they had also seen colours in the sky at the time while others said there was just sound. Some believed it was thunder or fireworks.

Chris Livingston, from the Worcester Astronomical Society, said he had heard nothing about the reports and said it was the last night of the Orionids meteor shower, but doubted they would have caused a noise as described. Michael Morris, also from the Worcester Astronomical Society added: "Only a very large meteoroid would cause the effect experienced. Such a meteoroid would glow brighter than the sun and would have been seen by thousands of people. So no, it is incredibly unlikely to be anything astronomical."


Comment: It's not as unlikely as he supposes:
Finding unseen meteors

The Leonid meteor shower of Nov. 18, 1999, gave researchers an ideal opportunity to test Keay's hypothesis. Colin Price and Moshe Blum of Tel Aviv University found that Leonid meteors produced distinct VLF electromagnetic pulses.

Additionally, they discovered that there were many meteors that were not visible to observers — they were detected only by the VLF radiation they emitted. Finding meteors solely by their VLF signatures "detected nearly 50 times more meteors than the optical method," Price and Blum wrote.

Can You Hear a Meteor?
and
Because sound travels so much more slowly than light does, the rumblings of a particularly large meteor shouldn't be heard for several minutes after the meteor's sighting. A meteor 100 kilometers high would boom about five minutes after it appears. Such an object is called a "sonic" meteor. The noise it makes is related to the sonic boom caused by a faster-than-sound aircraft.

Can you hear meteors?



David Galloway, a seismologist for the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said he had checked all the data recorded for the Evesham area and there was no reading at all for a tremor or earthquake. "If it was something atmospheric, such as a sonic boom or noise from an 'air quake', it is unlikely to be picked up with our equipment even if there was a vibration, rather like the effect a heavy lorry rumbling past your house. I have checked the date. There was certainly no recorded seismic activity in that area between the times of 7pm and 9pm on that evening."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence also ruled out any military action which could have caused the sounds described while a spokesman for RAF Shawbury, a training base in Shrewsbury, said training flights did not take place after 5pm on Fridays. Mr Galloway did mention air quakes and a description on an "Answers" website describes an air quake as 'starting with a grand showing of the Northern Lights, followed by storms with wind speeds up to 160kmph and then a series of earthquakes'.