Hundreds of people have reportedly heard a ‘sonic boom’ across large parts of central England. Witnesses saying the ground was shaking and houses rocked have been reported as far south as Oxford up to 70 miles further north in Leicester.
Plane spotters on social media sites are currently speculating as to the cause of the incident, however, no official reason has yet been given by aviation authorities. A sonic boom is associated with shock waves, and is created when an object travels through the air faster than the speed of sound. The noise created when this occurs sounds like a loud explosion or a clap of thunder.
A spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: "We have received numerous calls in relation to a large explosion sound heard from various parts of the city and county. We like to reassure you that there is no concern however thank you for your immediate response to us."
In order to create a sonic boom at sea level, an object must be moving at around 750mph, according to Af.mil. This is around 200 mph more than most commercial airlines fly, and 100mph more than a 747.
According to NASA: “Sonic booms produced by aircraft flying supersonic at altitudes of less than 100 feet, creating between 20 and 144 pounds overpressure, have been experienced by humans without injury. Damage to eardrums can be expected when overpressures reach 720 pounds.”
Sonic booms also vary in terms of how far and wide they can be heard, according to Florida Today. The width is around one mile for each 1,000 feet of altitude, so an aircraft flying at 50,000 feet would produce a sonic boom cone about 50 miles wide.