THE sonic boom-type noise heard across Sedgemoor and throughout the South West on Saturday afternoon was caused by an “extremely rare” meteor known as a daytime fireball.
People in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Jersey reported hearing loud bangs – with some seeing a streak of light in the sky.
Initial theories included an earthquake and a supersonic fighter jet breaking the speed of sound.
But after analysing pictures and videos, experts are convinced the cause was a meteor.
Simon Proud, a specialist in aviation meteorology at the University of Oxford, captured the meteor – which appeared as a bright flash – flying over the UK on a weather satellite.
He added that the one seen on Saturday would have needed to be “very large” to be visible during day.
Dr Ashley King from the UK Fireball Alliance – a group of experts and enthusiasts who hunt for freshly-fallen meteorites – said the fireball “would have been going faster than the speed of sound”.
He added: “Normally when you hear that it’s a good sign that you have got rocks that have made it to the surface. It’s incredibly exciting and I’m a bit stunned.”
The group has asked people in the Devon, Dorset or Somerset areas to report finds of any fragments – believed to be small blackish stones, or a mound of dark dust.
Data from cameras is also being analysed to give details of the meteor’s journey.