What was that streaking light, loud boom over northern Minnesota?

November 15, 2023

BEMIDJI, Minn.–A bright flash in the sky over Beltrami County and the sonic boom that followed it were initially reported to be caused by a meteor, but after further investigation, authorities there now say that was likely not the cause.

Around 6:45 p.m. Monday night, multiple reports came into the Beltrami County Emergency Communication Center to report an explosion. Witnesses over a 50-mile area said they saw a bright flash and heard, and felt, a loud boom shortly after.

Beltrami County Emergency Management Director Christopher Muller said he heard the boom. It shook his house, rattled his dishes, and scared his dog so bad it almost broke down a door trying to get inside. Others reported the same types of effects, including car alarms going off.

As of early Tuesday, authorities speculated that the cause was a meteor, but that was refuted by an astronomer and NASA scientist who analyzed the video footage frame by frame and determined whatever streaked across the sky was too horizontal to be a meteor.

Muller said, after reviewing video and using mathematics, it was calculated that the source of flash and boom were less than a mile apart. They don’t know if the source was stationary or mobile.

Video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqQVGpYQ_KM