Sunday, December 20, 2015

Can you hear a meteor?

Meteors are able to create
sound waves. As they tear their
way through the atmosphere
they can create a sonic boom
in the same way a fast-moving
aeroplane does.
However, since meteors are
generally 100km or more in
altitude and sound travels much
more slowly than light, such sonic
booms would not be heard until
many minutes after the meteor
appeared to viewers on Earth.
Furthermore, the sound may not
be loud enough to be heard at
all. Some people claim to have
heard hissing or buzzing noises
simultaneously with seeing a
meteor. These may be caused
by the very low frequency radio
waves that are generated by
meteors, which will arrive at the
same time as the observer sees
the meteor passing overhead.
It has been demonstrated that
these waves can cause things
like glasses, plant foliage, pine
needles and even hair to vibrate.
This goes some way to explaining
the hissing noises.


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