BRIGHT FLASH AND EXPLOSION SOUND UNLIKELY TO BE A METEOR
November 15, 2023
Initial speculation of a meteor sighting over Beltrami County proving to be unlikely.
After receiving numerous reports of a large flash in the sky and subsequent large explosion sound that was seen and heard across much of southern Beltrami County and adjacent areas, steps to determine the source began. Shortly after 6:40PM Monday, November 13, 2023 numerous reports were made to the Beltrami County Emergency Communications Center reporting the explosion. Initially, law enforcement checked the area and didn’t find anything. A resident in Nymore captured the flash and boom on a security camera. With the widespread reports of seeing the flash and hearing the boom across the region, assumptions were made it was possibly a meteor and the video shared with the public.
Tuesday morning, additional video from the Bemidji Regional Airport was provided and showed an object appear to be streaking across the video frame. This video was provided to an astronomer and a scientist from NASA. They analyzed the video frame by frame and determined the object is too horizontal to indicate it was a meteor and additional data needed to be collected to further eliminate possible other interfering objects. It is undetermined if the two videos are related.
Through additional conversation, reviewing the initial video and applying mathematics to the timing of the flash and boom, it was calculated that the source of the flash and boom were less than a mile apart. Whether the source was stationary or mobile is also undetermined, but numerous witnesses reported seeing it over an area of approximately 50 miles and hearing the boom even a greater distance away. The sound was loud enough to rattle windows, shake houses and set car alarms off.
“This has certainly been an interesting puzzle to try and solve, and we still don’t know exactly what it was. “ said Christopher Muller, Beltrami County Emergency Management Director and Public Information Officer. “We appreciate the assistance we’ve received from federal agencies and science community in ruling out what it wasn’t and will continue to provide any subsequent information that is learned.” He continued, “The fact this was seen and heard across such a large area is what is a mystery. What was it?”
There have been no reports of any damage or objects identified that have made it to the ground. Unless there is significant development or definitive determination there will be no further updates.
Beltrami County Public Information Officer
Beltrami County Emergency Management Director