Experts: Bright Flash + Loud Explosion In Northern Minnesota Not A Meteor, So What Was It?
It turns out that bright flash in the sky, followed by a loud boom on Monday night wasn't a meteor. So, what the heck was it?
In the initial story we shared on the subject, we reported that officials with Beltrami County in Northern Minnesota estimated that the flash and thunderous noise that rattled homes in the Bemidji area and well beyond was "likely" due to a meteor. After further investigation, their initial theory has been debunked.
The team with Beltrami County Emergency Management shared an update on their Facebook page, as well as a second video from the incident.
In the update, Beltrami County Public Information Officer Christopher Muller explained officials with the county had spent a lot of time communicating over the phone and via email today with some federal agencies and experts in the science community.
Muller said that as conversations got underway with these experts, it became clear that it was not a meteor that caused the flash and explosion that lit up the sky over southern Beltrami County and rattled homes in the area.
Additional video from the Bemidji Regional Airport was made available (below), showing an object zipping across the video frame around the time of the incident at 6:40 on Monday night.
Experts say this video is unlikely related to whatever caused the flash and explosion and county officials say it could quite possibly just be a bug or swooping bird/bat.
Looking at a screenshot of that video, it looks like too much of a streak to be a bug/bird/bat, but artifacting on security cameras in low light can sometimes make trails appear behind moving objects.
The footage was provided to experts at NASA, who said that the object "is horizontal to indicate it was a meteor and additional data needed to be collected to further eliminate possible other interfering objects". They reinforce It is undetermined if the video above is related to what caused the flash and boom in the video below.
Through some math done by experts using the timing between the flash and explosion, it was calculated that the source of the flash and sound was less than a mile away from where the video above was captured - in the Nymore neighborhood, on the south side of Bemidji.
Despite it being determined that whatever caused the flash and bang was very near this neighborhood, reports of seeing the flash came in from around 50 miles away from Bemidji, and reports of the sound came in from even further away. The loud sound rattled windows, shook houses, and even set off some car alarms.
Following a long day of emails and phone calls on Tuesday, they've now eliminated a meteor as the culprit. Whatever it was, it had to be something substantial for people to see and hear it as far away from Bemidji as they did.
No reports of damage have come in and there have been no reported discoveries of any objects that may have fallen to the ground. There is also no evidence of an object on radar. Besides it remaining unclear what caused the flash and noise, it also remains unclear if the source was moving or static.
Unfortunately, unless someone makes a discovery (or knows something about the cause of the flash and boom), county officials say they don't plan to provide any further updates.
That said, here's hoping someone saw something, finds something, or perhaps has footage of whatever caused this. A mystery like this is too wild not to have a conclusion to!