10122021 Meteor Boom

The blue blip seen at left is the false lightning report, which could be a meteor flash.

A loud boom heard across much of southern New Hampshire, including the Monadnock Region, late Sunday morning was likely caused by a meteorite entering Earth’s atmosphere, according to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists noticed Monday that a satellite tracking lightning activity had registered a blip around 11:20 a.m. Sunday near Hillsboro, according to Greg Cornwell with the agency’s Gray, Maine, office.

Cornwell said a single flash would be consistent with the light produced by a meteor’s entry into the atmosphere. With no lightning in the area Sunday, he said there is “reason to believe” the incident was due to a meteor.

People as far south as central Massachusetts reported on social media Sunday morning that they’d heard a loud boom. Some said they also felt the ground shake.

Cornwell said a meteor would have likely produced that noise as it entered the atmosphere. The resulting flash of light would’ve been difficult to see in the daytime, he said.

Neither the U.S. Geological Survey nor the Weston Observatory in Weston, Mass., reported an earthquake in New Hampshire on Sunday. Officials with both organizations told WMUR that their instruments hadn’t registered any seismic activity.

The weather service hadn’t received any reports of a meteor impact as of 11:30 a.m. Monday, according to Cornwell, though he said its entry over Hillsboro is an estimate. Meteors often burn up completely while entering the atmosphere, leaving nothing to collide with Earth.

“A lot of these will be totally consumed by re-entry,” he said.

Caleb Symons can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1420, or csymons@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @CalebSymonsKS.

This article is being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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