back to article Big bang theory: Was mystery explosion over New York caused by a meteor? Dunno. By a military jet? Maybe...

A loud boom heard over the US state of New York on Labor Day could have been the result of a fireball arriving from space... or a military jet thundering through the skies... or something else, according to the American Meteor Society. Folks enjoying their Monday off were interrupted that late afternoon by what sounded like an …

  1. veti Silver badge

    Now that basically everyone carries a camera with them at all times, sightings of UFOs on lonely roads have dropped dramatically, because (obviously) the aliens don't want us proving their existence too easily.

    So they have to invent new ways to keep us guessing, letting the select few perceive the truth while the deluded masses continue to huddle in the cold light of officially sanctioned doubt. Ways that don't rely on visual contact. "Randomly generating a distant sonic boom from time to time" could be an easy way of doing that.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      I knew it was aliens. Tricky bugger, yer standard alien.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Maybe a blue hedgehog from the planet Mobious?

    2. Francis Boyle


      roars, rumblings, whines. . . It's all on Youtube for your listening pleasure.

      1. Caver_Dave Silver badge

        Re: Booms

        "roars, rumblings, whines." is that safe for work?

        1. Chozo

          Re: Booms

          Safer than an Ikea pig hunt

    3. Tom 7

      If this is a near vertical meteor the chances of getting a pic are near zero even if you are looking in the right direction at the time. We had one blow up off the N.Devon coast Oct 2006 - the floor dropped under my feet and windows rattled. I popped outside and scanned the skies for any sign and could see nothing.

      I was near Stansted a few months ago when they scrambled some fighters and blasted the area with a sonic boom - the meteor was a good order of magnitude louder - the sonic boom felt like a wardrobe falling over upstairs, the meteor felt like it pushed the floor away beneath my feet.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Well if you're not outside then yes, the chances of spotting and taking a pic of a meteor are certainly zero.

        Once you've heard the boom, it's too late to go out and look - unless the thing is a kilometer wide, in which case you go out and get fried.

        1. John Stirling

          Not zero, but I'll admit, low

    4. fargonebastage

      I'll have to speak with the overseers we have confirmation etFilter is working enmasse

    5. sisk

      I, for one, welcome our new incredibly loud alien overlords.

    6. StargateSg7

      Since 20 km flight ceiling is around 65600 feet, I am fairly sure that this is the Two-Stage-to-Low-Orbit (aka SR-75 + Dart) spacecraft which is either an NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) asset for General White House directed Observational Satellite imagery OR its a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) asset used for tactical operations imaging for special forces (JSOC or SOCOM).

      Since it's been detected over the New York area as the seeming final destination, I'm fairly sure the main operating base is probably near Westchester County or the Near Lake Champlain, NY in one of the smaller operating bases. If this is an NRO operation, it will be a North Korea observation and/or Iran Missile Base Observation run starting at around 135000 feet to as high as 300000+ feet. There is also the possibility of a Cuba and Venezuela run for looking at recent weather damage, economic and general political observations.

      If this is a CIA run, it will over North Eastern China, Eastern Russia and possibly Afghanistan, Pakistan and/or Kashmir (India) for a logistics scouting run used to direct small special operations forces on tactical missions such as hunting for stray nukes, killing bad-dude warlords and/or sabotaging 3rd party or proxy forces/insurgents and their assets in those regions.

      They may have also sent it over the East Coast for an eventual wide arc around or Over Florida to a New Mexico or Arizona landing which usually done when maintenance or upgrades on the smaller parasitic Dart spaceplane needs to be completed since Arizona/New Mexico contains TEST and MAINTENANCE facilities!


      1. cmaurand

        Plattsburg, NY is an air national guard base. very poosible to have something like that there.

    7. PeterKr

      I've identified a UFO

      A few years back, a elderly co-worker assured me that he saw 4 UFOs circling in the sky. I thought he might be going senile, but then I saw them myself -> a car dealership aimed 4 floodlights into the sky and had them circle in unison.

      I still have no idea why.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    You've all been neuralized already by MIB

    That's why you can't remember seeing anything.

    1. Allan George Dyer

      Re: You've all been neuralized already by MIB

      I not only don't remember seeing or hearing the event, I don't remember being in New York, ever!

      That's proof!!

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: You've all been neuralized already by MIB

        "or if the Men in Black suddenly show up at the office with those memory-wiping pens. We'll also let you know if the Men in Black suddenly show up at the office with those memory-wiping pens."

        I see what you did there.

        Wait, what?

    2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: You've all been neuralized already by MIB

      The flash was the actual neuralizer!

      The few that have reported seeing it are actually immune, and are now being hunted by the MiB!

  3. OssianScotland
    Black Helicopters


    All that effort to hide the existence of weather balloons!

  4. Blockchain commentard
    Black Helicopters

    When a fireball exploded over that Russian town, everyone filmed it. In America, doesn't anyone have CCTV, windscreen cams, cameras in their phones? Definately a govt. conspiracy if they can remotely switch off every camera at will.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Not everyone filmed it. It was caught on a dashcam that Russia's insurance companies mandate because Russian drivers are so dangerous.

      There were a few mobile vids, because it's difficult to get your phone out, hunt for the cam app and point the phone at something that disappears in seconds to get a record of it.

      No conspiracy needed there, and no phones are turned off en masse. Besides, do you really think that the government turning off all the phones is not going to be followed by Twitter storm of "hey, my phone was turned off !" ?

      You need to think your conspiracy theories through if you don't want to come off as ridiculous.

      1. 's water music

        do you really think that the government turning off all the phones is not going to be followed by Twitter storm of "hey, my phone was turned off !"

        Not really, we haven't all got access to a smart fridge of Nintendo DS

        1. Keven E

          do you really think that the government turning off all the phones is not going to be followed by Twitter storm of "hey, my phone was turned off !" ?

          That depends on how long the phones stay off...

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        It was caught on a dashcam that Russia's insurance companies mandate because Russian drivers are so dangerous.

        I thought the Russians had dashcams to stop corrupt traffic cops pulling them over for fake traffic offences.

        1. Tom 35

          Cameras also catch people trying insurance fraud.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The number of people walking casually in front of stopped/slow moving cars and flopping onto the hood in this country is TOO DAMN HIGH!

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        What about cyclists with head-cams? Or has that fad passed?

        1. Keven E


          " ...cyclists with head-cams?"

          Recording all *your own traffic violations (too) might be a deterrent.

  5. Chris G

    It was Putin

    Flying in his personal Russian skunk works hypersonic stealth plane, making the latest cash drop to his buddy In the White House. Or it was a gjitch in the Matrix.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Flying in his personal Russian skunk works hypersonic stealth plane,"

      Nahh, that would have exploded leaving a trail of radioactive isotopes...

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Black Helicopters


    It was me. I accidentally crossed the streams. Won't do it again. Promise.

    1. Kane

      Re: Sorry

      Total Protonic Reversal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry

        Yeah, definitely avoid that.

        It took me weeks to get the sheets clean.

  7. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Don't panic

    It's just a scout

    Of the Vogon constructor fleet.

    1. hopkinse

      Re: Don't panic

      It's Vogon Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz warming up for his latest poetry reading

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Don't panic

        As long as it's not the Azgoths of Kria

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Don't panic

      TBH, the world is so fucked up that I would be underwhelmed by the arrival of aliens. "Aliens, huh? D'you think they're Brexiteers or Remainers?"

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Don't panic

        Grunthos the Flatulent?

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    'twas an oversized Terminator warping in from the future.

    Unfortunately Skynet made a slight miscalculation and set the destination point too high.

    It has hidden itself and is biding its time.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge


      If it fell 20km it'll have to get some new flesh from somewhere. Harley riders of New York State, you need to be prepared to do more than just protect your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: Degloved

        Or these days for the more mature T-800 models; your cardigan, your slippers and your mobility scooter.

    2. not.known@this.address

      Or one of Saberhagen's Berserkers. Which might be better or worse for the environment...

  9. segillum

    It was just Rimmer crossing the chopsticks.

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      stoke me a clipper

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have it on good authority

    That it was J-Rod the Roswell Grey making good his escape from the secure facility. The bang was obviously that tiny one entity pod hidden in that desert cave for >70 years jumping to hyperspace, though it didn't have interstellar capability it worked well enough to get the hell out of Dodge (tm) in this case out past Pluto.

    Even he didn't see a "No Deal" coming, time warp bracelet or not.

    Turns out that he sent an SOS message using HFGW pulse wave the day before LIGO was officially switched on, and those weird pulses everyone thought were calibration test signals turned out to be far more interesting. Ironic that they used reverse engineered technology from the first craft to almost detect the second but thanks to a bit of inside knowledge and misdirection it was later dismissed as noise.

    Pick up should be any day now.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: I have it on good authority

      Could we please appeal to our favourite Martian to stop posting anonymously.

      It hurts my brain to read it without my MfM filter turned on!

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
        Big Brother

        Re: Couldn't be AMfM

        The grammar is too good, especially capitalization and punctuation.

      2. Highinthemountains

        Re: I have it on good authority

        I thought he left earth in the 1966

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    military aircraft ...

    crossing the sound wall ?

    We had this last month, above the Geneva lake, when a swiss aircraft went on a rush to assist a plane that lost contact with air control ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: military aircraft ...

      Few airplanes can easily reach an altitude of 20km (it's 65600 ft, above the upper limit of Class A airspace in US), and once there, keep good maneuverability, it's above the service ceiling of F-15 and F-16, and the max service ceiling of an F-22. U-2 and SR-71 had both a higher ceiling, but the former can't go supersonic, and the latter should not be operative any longer.

      So, it doesn't look like some standard military procedure - if it was some sort of experiment, why over New York?

      1. Timbo

        Re: military aircraft ...

        Has anyone checked the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, in New York?

        That's where Concorde G-BOAD is supposed to be stored...and 20km is just above the max ceiling height of Concorde (which had an 18 km limit).

        Having been directly under a Concorde taking off (as it passed overhead, at about 200 feet, while I was driving along the Southern Perimiter Road at Heathrow), I know how loud they can get ;-)

        1. caffeine addict

          Re: military aircraft ...

          The noise of the plane and the sonic boom aren't really related. Otherwise bullets would be silent in flight. :)

      2. caffeine addict

        Re: military aircraft ...

        This is what I was trying to work out. Presumably any of those could break their rated ceiling on a balistic trajectory, but you'd presumably have heard the boom over a wider area as it would have been supersonic on the approach.

        The reporting makes it sound like it was a boom in a relatively localised area, which only leaves rocks, doesn't it?

        With nothing non-military going above about 50,000ft I assume that radar doesn't track those heights? Or is all tracking at that height transponders anyway?

        1. cmaurand

          Re: military aircraft ...

          Whatever they say about a military aircraft, it's not entirely accurate. An F-15 is rated a mach 2.5. An F-14 was rated at machine 2.3+. In reality, the F-14 was faster than the F-15, but the F-15 had faster accleration. The F-14 would climb to 56K ft. Like it was nothing. Getting to 60 or 6th was not hard. If you want to fly over much 2, those are the altitudes you need to be at.

        2. Col_Panek

          Re: military aircraft ...

          "I assume that radar doesn't track those heights? Or is all tracking at that height transponders anyway?"

          Air route surveillance radars are 2D, just show azimuth and range. The beam is shaped to be near the horizon, but if the target is far enough away it will be visible at ten miles up. The question is its speed; if it's way out of the doppler filter it would get rejected. Presumably somebody at the FAA is investigating to crosscheck vs. beacon data.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: military aircraft ...

        and the latter should not be operative any longer.

        That's what THEY want you to think!

        They've just been repainted in sky blue-pink and had an advanced Unicorn field fitted so that you can't see them any more.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: military aircraft ...

        > Few airplanes can easily reach an altitude of 20km [...]

        Gatwick Airport management have already issued a statement to say that it was a drone...

    2. hplasm

      Re: military aircraft ...


      Tony Stark, late for work...

  12. Tom 7

    20Km too low for MOST meteors.

    Some are made of packed rubble, others solid metal. I've got a few thumb sized ones that made it 'safely' to the ground, I dare say the explosion (NOT a sonic boom) occurs when the deceleration pressure and rotational forces on the meteor reaches a certain point where it starts to fracture at which point you get a cascade effect where even a metal meteor can disintegrate. They normally shed blobs of molten metal first which can flutter to to ground.

    Its quite populated round there - I'd be running around local sports fields looking for evidence myself, though it may just be dust and the odd pebble.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      They have sports fields in New York ?

      1. Tom 7

        New York state probably has a few.

    2. Col_Panek

      Re: 20Km too low for MOST meteors.

      It landed in southern Ontario, if anything was left.

  13. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Jabba the Hutt leaving behind a noisy air biscuit

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    North Korean missile nearly makes it to its target.

  15. karlkarl Silver badge

    Damn meteors have found a way to cloak themselves to sneak up on us.

  16. Rudolph Hucker the Third


    Has anyone checked the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, in New York?

    That's where Concorde G-BOAD is supposed to be stored..

    Going tangential ... does anyone know which Concorde is currently stored in BA hangers at Heathrow? T'was visible from the Southern Perimiter Road c.4 weeks ago.

    1. defiler
  17. Alistair

    Labour Day Loud Boom.

    I rather suspect that the noise came from up here in Ontario. It was Stephen Lewis, Bob Rae and Jack Layton getting together on the other side and reviewing the current Canadian political situation. Jack farted.

  18. Anomalous Custard

    Probably just Hotblack Desiato warming up for their next gig

    1. Geoff Bin In

      Probably just Hotblack Desiato warming up for their next gig

      1. defiler

        Re: Probably just Hotblack Desiato warming up for their next gig

        It does make me chuckle that they (used to) get threats and complaints from Douglas Adams fans, despite having been the inspiration.

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Probably just Hotblack Desiato warming up for their next gig

          One of the plotlines in Iain Banks's Walking on Glass features them as well.

  19. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Maybe ...

    ... it's a CF-105 Mark 2 test flight.

  20. Jay Lenovo

    NY Fees

    The path seems to follow the New York Turnpike.

    Maybe the object was just trying to avoid tolls?

    1. Daedalus

      Re: NY Fees

      That's the New York State Thruway to you, mate.

      Personally I didn't hear a thing. But at that time of night I probably was watching baseball on the goggle-slab (somehow "gogglebox" doesn't seem to fit anymore). One of the reports was from Penfield, NY, a suburb of Rochester a bit to the east of where I live.

      Oh and we are not "central" NY. We're on the North Coast, and don't you forget it.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Jay Lenovo

    There can be only one

    My goodness, how fortunate! You've stumbled upon the "Highlander of Beanz"

    ...or at least the "Thunderdome" of cans.

  22. myootnt

    You don't get it! I've won! It's over! You're milk-suckers!

    Have you ever flashy-thinged me?


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. You don't get it!

    That you know of. In fact the flashy thing of which you speak is highly classified techn (FLASH)

    What was I saying? And why do I have a strange craving for Chicago Town Pepperoni w/stuffed crust?

  24. Bob Camp

    I heard it

    I live north of Syracuse, New York. It sounded like a large explosion. It shook the house. At first I thought it was inside my house, so I walked around to see if anything was wrong, like part of my house was missing or on fire. Then I got a few text messages from my neighbors saying they heard it too. We thought maybe a gas explosion somewhere in the neighborhood, but then we realized people heard it from over 50 miles away.

    I did not see the streak or a bright flash of light, but I was indoors. Others apparently saw the streak and there are a couple of cameras that caught the bright flash a few minutes before the boom.

    1. DaemonProcess

      Re: I heard it

      Sounds like you heard a meteor. Shame, I was hoping they had re-started the XB-70 Valkyrie program ;-)

      1. StargateSg7

        Re: I heard it

        The XB-70 Valkyrie never went away! President Ronald Reagan staretd beefing up the recon aircraft category in 1985 starting with an SR-75 + Space Dart parasitic two-stage-to-low-orbit aircraft, a large plasma-sheathed (i.e. boranes aka ZIP fuel) powered Concorde like aircraft AND a really long and pointy X-15-like rocket plane AND some Tier-4 HALE (high Altitude/Log Endurance) drone aircraft in the late 1990's/early 2000's (Bush-1 up to Clinton and Bush-2). The Pumpkin Seed-shaped single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft I don't think really ever got to full operations stage. They kept the test airframes at the test runs stage using them only as a last resort when satellites weren't available! I think the five or so aircraft are stored at either Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio or at Tonopah, Nevada right now kinda half-mothballed being run only every 6 months or so!

        Nowadays, it's easier to send in operators with microdrones and tiny dragonfly drones to do 4K and HD-video observation from a few KM or even a mere few hundreds of metres away from the target!


        I would assume the current RQ-180 drone and its likely all-electric successor long-endurance drone is now in a fully operational state so they will take over the older assets for really high altitude maneuverable imaging work!


  25. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Chuck Norris chucked a ball high up into the sky...

    1. Robert Moore

      For Chuck Norris, this was just a lazy toss.

      1. Ken Shabby

        Aliens do exist. But they are too intelligent to visit a planet where Chuck Norris lives.

  26. cmaurand

    How about an X37 on re-entry?

  27. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

    Oh, Belgium Man, Belgium!

    DOCTOR 5: You'll blow up the Tardis.

    DOCTOR: No, I won't. I haven't.

    DOCTOR 5: Who told you that?

    DOCTOR: You told me that.

    DOCTOR 5: Supernova and black hole at the exact same instant.

    DOCTOR: The explosion cancels out the implosion.

    DOCTOR 5: Pressure remains constant.

    DOCTOR: It's brilliant.

    DOCTOR 5: Far too brilliant. I've never met anyone else who could fly the Tardis like that.

    DOCTOR: Sorry, mate, you still haven't.

  28. Pete4000uk

    Nobody mentioned

    aurora yet?

  29. Conundrum1885


    Coincidence that "ST:Voyager" is on the Horror Channel in the near future.

    Or is it the past. One can never tell.

    But seriously, do we know for sure that this was in fact natural and not some experiment gone wrong?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    High powered lasers vapourising noctilucent clouds?

  31. Celeste Reinard

    Lemmy pass gass

    The only space rock I know is Hawkwind, and they are usually pretty sedate... So it probably must have been a silver machine taking someone for a ride.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Navigator

    Supposedly the film of the same name is based on elements of several different sightings.

    Zamora saw something very strange on that lonely desert road and the craft allegedly seen at Rendlesham had some similarities.

    Perhaps a short range craft powered by stored energy but not by itself capable of independent use so once that metastable isomer based core is depleted its not going anywhere until it gets replenished.

    Also incidentally 115In may be the isomer in question, there are several that might work here and the least dangerous one may have advantages.

    The "Spin Drive" just extracts energy from it.

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