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Possible meteoroid causes boom, lights up skies in Grays Harbor County

A bolide is a type of bright meteor that explodes in a bright flash at its end. It could also cause a sonic boom.
(Infographic: American Meteor Society)

The mysterious loud boom and flash of light that filled Grays Harbor County skies Wednesday night was possibly a bolide meteoroid, according to Grays Harbor County Emergency Management.

Several residents along the coast and as far inland as Montesano heard the boom, which registered on Pacific Northwest Seismic Network seismometers in the 7 p.m. hour.

There is still no definite confirmation of the bolide meteroide, but there were at least 15 reports to the American Meteor Society, according to emergency management.

Meteoroid - Meteor (Bolide) - Meteorite.gif

(Credit: Meteor126 - Own work, CC0, Link)

A bolide is a special type of fireball, or very bright meteor, that explodes in a bright flash at its end, according to the American Meteor Society.

Ocean Shores is dark moments before a mysterious light fills the skies. (Photo: Bill Frank)
Light fills the sky in Ocean Shores on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (Photo: Bill Frank)

What about that loud boom some people heard?

If a fireball explodes as a bolide below an altitude of 30 miles, there’s a chance people on the ground could hear sonic booms, which are noises that occur when an object goes faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms are more likely if the bolide happens at an angle of about 45 degrees to the person watching, and less likely if the person watching is just beneath the bolide.

WATCH: Mysterious flash of light fills sky in Grays Harbor County

Sound travels slowly, so it usually takes between 90 seconds to four minutes after the explosion before the sonic boom is heard.

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