Bang over Weston could have been caused by comet or asteroid
PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:10 08 August 2017
A small comet or asteroid could have been the cause of a sudden flash and loud bang over Weston-super-Mare in the early hours of Monday morning.
People all over the town, and as far out as Kewstoke and Banwell, reported hearing the noise which made some windows shake at around 1.20am on Monday.
Many reported on social media that they had seen a flash of light before hearing the sudden bang.
The RAF yesterday ruled out the noise being a sonic boom caused by one of its aircraft, but a new theory has now come to light.
Space experts have said it may have been a comet or asteroid entering the earth’s atmosphere and then exploding.
Jay Tate, director at the Spaceguard Centre which monitors comets and meteors, said: “You would not get a flash with a sonic boom, so it does sound like it is a small piece of comet or asteroid entering the atmosphere at about 35,000-55,000 miles an hour.
“It would be like an egg hitting a brick wall - it would blow itself to dust.
“The flash is caused by the sudden conversion of kinetic energy into heat and light.”
Mr Tate said it is difficult to know how big it would have been because he does not know how bright the flash was.
But he said it could have been around the size of a football, or even up to the size of a small car.
Mr Tate said: “The brighter the flash, the bigger it would have been.”
Other theories include a firework, but this is unlikely to have been heard over the six-mile distance between Wick St Lawrence and Banwell – both areas in which people reported hearing the sudden bang.
Storm maps do not show any lightning strikes for the whole of the UK on Sunday night and Monday morning.
An RAF spokesman said there was no way to find out if a civilian or military aircraft from another country could have caused the noise – or if it was generated by an aircraft at all. But the flash of light makes it less likely to have been an aircraft.