- Sounds reported at the weekend from Aberdeen to Devon in the UK
- Similar noises were also reported in Lockport and Clarence in New York
- A woman in south London managed to record the mysterious bangs
- One expert claims the noises sound like a ‘pulse detonation engine’
- Conspiracy theorists say power source could be behind a hypersonic US spy plane, dubbed Aurora
- The top-secret Aurora project was first first reported on in 1989 and it could be behind Lockheed Martin’s SR-72 plane concept
The origin of the mysterious bangs heard across the UK and New York at the weekend are yet to be officially identified.
But a leading theory is that they were created by an aircraft possibly travelling at supersonic or hypersonic speeds above the Atlantic.
This has led conspiracy theorists to attribute the booms to a spy plane rumoured to be under development by the US military, under the codename Aurora.
Dr Bhupendra Khandelwal, an engineering research associate from Sheffield, claims the loud bangs were created by a type of experimental jet engine called a pulse detonation engine.
Claudia Angiletta, a resident from Croydon, South London, recorded the sounds as she was watching TV at home at around 10pm GMT on Saturday.
Within minutes, Twitter users had started spreading hashtags – from the straightforward #loudbangs to the somewhat melodramatic #omgwereallgoingtodie.
At around the same time, residents in locations including Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Clarence and as far north as Niagara Falls on the east coast of the US also took to social media to report the unusual noises.
People described it as loud enough to shake their homes and rattle windows. This has led conspiracy theorists to claim the power source could be behind a hypersonic US spy plane, dubbed Aurora.
Aurora is rumoured to be an ultra top secret aircraft that has been in development since 1989. It could be a successor to the Mach 3.35 Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird craft that was retired in 1998. By comparison, extreme reports claim the Aurora could hit up to Mach 11.8. These claims originated in Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, which ran an article in 1989 about a mysterious entry in the 1985 US budget. The entry said $445 million was attributed to ‘black aircraft production’ under the name Aurora. These reports did not reference a single craft, instead they discussed a series of planes.
Other reports suggest the Aurora programme kicked off at Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks in 1987. The firm was said to be looking into replacing its SR-71 Blackbird, which was later retired in 1998.
However, the former head of Lockheed’s Skunkworks division, Ben Rich, said Aurora was a codename for the stealth project which eventually led to the B-2 Spirit. But, in November 2013, Lockheed Martin announced it was developing a spy plane with similar technologies called SR-72. The firm said the plane can accelerate up to Mach 6, or 4,567mph (7,349km/h) – three times faster than Concorde.
Concorde flew no faster than Mach 2, primarily because the materials weren’t available in the Sixties that could withstand greater heat. Technology has advanced since then, and the SR-72 will be a so-called ‘warm structure’ – it will heat up rather than reflect the heat using the sort of ceramic tiles that covered the Space Shuttle.
Concorde wasn’t allowed to fly supersonic over land because of the ‘sonic boom’ – the sound associated with the shockwaves created by a craft moving faster than the speed of sound.
State police received numerous calls about the loud boom, but have no idea what caused it.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office on the grounds of the Buffalo International Airport did not report hearing or feeling anything at their office and do not believe that there could be a weather-related explanation.
FAA personnel at the control tower did not report seeing or hearing anything either.
At the same time as residents in New York State reported hearing noises, hundreds of Twitter users in the UK reported hearing similar sounds – that also shook their windows.
Some people in Great Britain have suggested that unusual weather conditions might be the source, but the Met Office today dismissed the claims.
Others on Twitter suggested that it could be traced back to controlled explosions or military exercises.
An audio recording of the ‘loud bangs’, taken by a woman as she sat at home in Croydon, south London, might shed light on what is really behind the unexplained noise.
“I went out to look for fireworks but I couldn’t see anything in the sky. That’s when I recorded the clip to send to my family to see if they could hear the same thing.”
The 27-year-old said that her family, who live roughly seven miles away in Norbury, south London, could also hear the sounds, which lasted for about 30 minutes. She then turned to Twitter to see if anyone could explain what they were.
Many suspected sonic booms similar to ones which shook Kent last month when two RAF jets intercepted a Latvian cargo plane in British airspace.
But a Ministry of Defense spokesman told MailOnline she had no records of any jets being scrambled last night.