The sound of a huge explosion rocked New Hampshire while the ground trembled, in a statewide incident that left both residents and experts wondering. Now, meteorologists think they might know the cause behind the boom, reports The New York Times.
Satellite imagery suggests that a meteor might have hurtled over New Hampshire before exploding that caused the loud blast that shook the ground across the region. If that’s the case, then it would finally answer a mystery that’s caused rampant online speculation among residents of New Hampshire.
Could be a meteorite explosion
Early reports suggested that the U.S. Geological Survey didn’t find any evidence of an earthquake in the area within seven days of the event. But a meteor explosion makes sense, as Orionids and Draconids meteor showers are going on currently, the NYT notes.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service (NWS) are looking for bolides, which are the fireballs caused by a meteor explosion. “Sure enough, there was a little blip there right around the time that folks started calling and reporting about the sound,” NWS meteorologist Greg Cornwell told the NYT.
Best possible explanation
Of course, just like the earthquake, the meteor theory isn’t a sure thing as well. The satellite that picked the explosion might have made an error, or it could be a mere coincidence. But currently, a meteor explosion sounds like the right explanation. “Now there have been cases where these sort of exploding fireballs or bolides will cause a false positive,” Cornwell told the NYT. “It showed up in the data, and it’s kind of a hunch.”
Finding large meteorites or their impact sites on our planet is easy; however, the smaller ones often go undetected. Only 2 percent of them are recovered by scientists. But, this is something that robots might be better at than humans.
To tackle this situation, scientists have developed a system that enables autonomous drones to leverage machine learning to find the smaller meteorites in impact sites that go unnoticed or are inaccessible. The new technology will use a mix of convolutional neural networks to hunt meteorites based on training images.