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Thread: Strange sounds heard all round the world 11th and 12th March

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    Senior Member Ireland sarahdita85's Avatar
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    Strange sounds heard all round the world 11th and 12th March

    Hey, just wanted to ask if anyone else has heard these mysterious sounds? Most of the town i live in heard it, went crazy on facebook for a few hours. Basically it sounded like a plane that was going too low and about to crash, people have said it was a mix between what a plane and helicopter would sound like but more 'digital'. So far its been heard in Canada, Florida, Ireland, England and a girl i follow on youtube from L.A. caught it as she was filming her make up tutorials.
    Strange one.

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    Senior Member Aianawa's Avatar
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    Interesting, what your feeling ?.

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    Senior Member Ireland sarahdita85's Avatar
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    Im stumped. No one seen anything, no lights from planes etc. A few people said the sky lit up with blue flashes and for the first time people here are considering ufos etc. Thats a huge step as my town is still living in the 1920's lol.

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    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by sarahdita85 View Post
    Hey, just wanted to ask if anyone else has heard these mysterious sounds? Most of the town i live in heard it, went crazy on facebook for a few hours. Basically it sounded like a plane that was going too low and about to crash, people have said it was a mix between what a plane and helicopter would sound like but more 'digital'. So far its been heard in Canada, Florida, Ireland, England and a girl i follow on youtube from L.A. caught it as she was filming her make up tutorials.
    Strange one.
    Well, I don't think I've heard what you're describing, although there was a single lightning flash followed by a single thunder clap here this afternoon. But if you seriously want to know and you've got an open mind, then we must approach this scientifically before we can legitimately start screaming "It must be aliens!"




    So, here is my somewhat educated analysis.




    Possibility #1


    The sound like that of a jet flying too low could have been a lightning strike. What most people don't realize ─ or know? ─ is what causes the sound of thunder, even though most people will know that thunder always comes after the lightning flash, and the longer it takes, the farther it is away from you. But so here's the (possibly boring) science.

    Thunder is effectively the sound caused by lightning, which itself is an electric discharge between a spot in the sky or on Earth ─ including water, under certain circumstances ─ with a high concentration of free electrons, and another such spot with a low concentration of free electrons. This electric discharge ─ effectively, an electric arc ─ moves faster than the speed of sound, which is why the sound only comes seconds later. As such, thunder is actually a sonic boom, such as what you get when a jet crosses the sound barrier.

    In the event of a supersonic jet, the sonic boom is the result of the sound waves in the air around the fuselage and wings of the plane colliding with each other and forming a shockwave. This shockwave travels with the plane for as long as it is moving at supersonic speed, and so different people on the ground will hear the sonic boom at different times, depending on their respective location and the plane's direction of travel. The same phenomenon ─ i.e. a sonic boom caused by an object moving faster than the speed of sound inside of the atmosphere ─ is also the cause of the loud sound that you hear when firing high-powered rifles (such as an assault rifle), and perhaps more surprisingly, it is also what causes the crack of a whip ─ it's the tip of the whip that moves faster than the speed of sound, i.e. ~342 meters per second.

    Given that there were blue flashes in the sky, and given how similar the sound of a low-flying jet is to the sound of lightning, I'd say that the most likely cause of the phenomenon was lightning. The atmospheric circumstances would certainly have been favorable to that in these past few days.

    Over here in Belgium we've been having a really bad storm over the weekend, with inland wind speeds of up to 120 km/h and wind speeds of up to 150 km/h at the coast and over the North Sea. It tore several large trees clean out of the ground with roots and all in the nature preserve behind my brother's house, knocked over the outer wall of the playground of an elementary school in my street at only some 80 meters from my apartment, caused lots of damage all over the country ─ the emergency call center couldn't keep up ─ and one man got crushed by a tree, albeit that it was his own fault. He had decided to go fishing.

    At the same time, the US has also been dealing with at least one tornado that I know of. Mother Nature has been very angry over the past couple of days. That could also account for the single lightning flash and thunder clap I heard this afternoon, because with a storm like that ─ and even with lesser intense storms ─ the howling wind strips off electrons from everything it passes over and through, even from the surrounding air itself. So you get an electric polarization effect happening, and then you get electric arcs between the negatively charged areas and the positively charged areas.

    So, bottom line: if there were flashes of light involved, then I think it was probably lightning.




    Possibility #2


    This one's going to be a bit longer and very technical, so bear with me.

    Sonic booms have so far always been unavoidable whenever a plane crosses the sound barrier, and as such, the USAF (and possibly other air forces around the world) have already been looking for a way to avoid that by changing the design of the aircraft. This isn't easy, but it was recently in the news over at Slashdot ─ it's a website for geeks ─ that a new aircraft design has been tested which isn't free of a sonic boom, but it does alter how the boom is perceived on the ground ─ it's supposed to be more "spread out" than that it would be a sudden shockwave. I have no idea what it's supposed to sound like, but it could very well have some weird sound effect similar to what you're describing.

    Another but related fact is that the USAF has also for quite a while already been experimenting with hypersonic planes. The difference between a hypersonic plane and a supersonic plane is that with a normal supersonic plane, not all of the air rushing over the wings and the fuselage is moving at supersonic speed, even though the plane as a whole is flying faster than the speed of sound, while with a hypersonic plane, all of the air moving over each and every surface of the plane is moving at speeds greater than the speed of sound.

    This effect is only obtained if the speed of the plane itself is in excess of Mach 5 ─ i.e. 5 times the speed of sound, or some 6174 km/h (~3836 mph). Due to the enormous aerodynamic drag associated with such a high speed, a hypersonic plane must be designed very differently to a normal supersonic jet. For starters, the wings must be a lot shorter, lest they would be sheared off by the aerodynamic drag, and the fuselage of a hypersonic jet is generally designed to provide enough lift in and of itself to keep the plane airborne at that speed.

    Another thing that needs to be different ─ and here's where it gets interesting ─ is the design of the engines. A jet engine for a normal supersonic or subsonic airplane is actually a so-called turbofan, in which the center part of the engine provides thrust by continuously burning fuel in a high-compression combustion chamber ─ this is what causes the hot and sometimes flaming jet exhaust ─ while at the same time, a portion of the air sucked into the engine by the turbine at the front is channeled around the core of the engine, somewhat akin to having a propeller in a tunnel. The combined thrust of the clean air and the jet is then what propels the plane.

    Now, when it comes to faster planes, this engine design is not efficient anymore, so for jets that travel above approximately Mach 2.5, the engine will be a turbojet, not a turbofan. This means that the turbine at the front will only suck in air that will be mixed with fuel and then ignited in the combustion chamber. But depending on the speed of the plane, that too may not always be efficient anymore, which is what leads us to the next step up, namely the ramjet. A ramjet works just like a turbojet, except that there isn't a turbine anymore. Or that is to say, the turbine is still there for when the plane must travel at lower speeds, but at higher speeds ─ as for instance is the case for the Lockheed SR-71 spy plane ─ the turbine stops rotating and the intake of the jet engine is adjusted so that the air rushes straight into the combustion chamber by the sheer speed of the aircraft. Hence the term "ramjet".




    But hang on, we're not done yet. Even the SR-71 is still a supersonic plane, not a hypersonic plane. And thus, the air rushing into the engines of an SR-71 is still doing so at a subsonic speed. For a hypersonic plane, this is different. The air rushing into the engines of a hypersonic plane is itself supersonic, which is why they call such engines "scramjets". And when it comes to scramjets, a number of interesting strategies have been adopted to increase efficiency and prevent damage to the engines from the continuous influx of air moving at supersonic speed. You have to keep in mind that at that speed, air is harder than concrete ─ well, you already know what air can do at much lower speeds, given the damage caused by the storm that I mentioned higher up in this post, and that was just at air speeds of 120 km/h.

    And so, one of the techniques the USAF has been experimenting with when it comes to hypersonic planes is called "pulse-detonation". What this does is that, instead of allowing a continuous combustion process and thus with a continuous exhaust jet, the air/fuel mixture is ignited in short bursts, resulting in a pulsed exhaust. And this generates a very characteristic sound, very dissimilar to other jet engines. It is also not specific or exclusive to hypersonic planes, because the infamous German V-1 used during World War II was essentially an unguided cruise missile that traveled at subsonic speeds ─ i.e. slower than the speed of sound ─ by way of a pulse-detonation jet engine, which gave it its characteristic rumbling sound, which does indeed resemble the sound of a helicopter somewhat.

    Now, the USAF is certainly still testing experimental hypersonic planes that use pulse detonation, and given how fast those things are ─ hypersonic planes are usually intended either to carry a nuclear payload or as spy planes ─ they can cover a lot of ground in very little time. So that could easily have been it.






    All of the above in mind ─ and thank you for having read through that long scientific discourse ─ my money would be on the second option, and I think the flashes of light were probably just lightning. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn't necessarily mean yet that they would be related.
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    Senior Member Ireland sarahdita85's Avatar
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    I definitely wouldnt rule out some sort of new aircraft etc. Wasnt a storm. Lasted 20 mins or more, woke people from their sleep for 2 nights in a row between 2 and 3 am. I didn't mention aliens i mentioned UFO's. ( unidentified flying objects.) Russia fly over here occasionally but its strange that it was heard in numerous places around the world at the same time. Maybe it was some sort of weather phenomena, total media silence about it arises suspicion though when loads of people here are asking questions.

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    I didn't hear anything although the train was making some crazy sounds on the track last night.

    I wonder if Linda Moulton Howe has reported on this. She did a lot of reporting on the strange trumpet sounds from a couple years ago.

    Well, I just went to Linda's site which has changed quite a bit since I last visited. I don't see anything.

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    Senior Member Ireland sarahdita85's Avatar
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    Some of the older folk here where scared as they said it sounded like the old world war bombers. I suppose it will just have to be a mystery lol.

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Yikes. That would scare me. And they would know the sound.

    Here's one from Illinois in February. The person said it continued until 9AM.


    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZQnWKxQc14


    There are more clips on this page of a site called Strange Sounds. Appropriate, eh?

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    It's been a couple years, now, but I heard a weird sound overnight. I woke to a very loud, rushing sound, it's hard to say what it was. It was so loud that my husband heard it while inside with the windows closed and sound asleep. I told him I didn't know what it was.

    Since then, I've heard similar sounds but never so loud as that one night. It's a steady rushing sound, like air, not quite like water.

    This video has a good compilation:


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    Senior Member Ireland sarahdita85's Avatar
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    The first video you posted is the exact sound we heard!

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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    Yikes. That would scare me. And they would know the sound.

    Here's one from Illinois in February. The person said it continued until 9AM.


    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZQnWKxQc14


    There are more clips on this page of a site called Strange Sounds. Appropriate, eh?
    sounds like a train to me...atmosphere inversions do strange things with echoing...

    wind through a metal tube of some sort...

    My nephew was telling me that he and his son heard a thump clomp clomp on the roof of his house...no trees...anything...overhead. The next day they got pictures that I saw of a foot long track/s that was split into a back heel and and a forked front half.
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    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by sarahdita85 View Post
    The first video you posted is the exact sound we heard!
    Like NotAPretender says, that could indeed be the sound of a train or wind in a tunnel being reflected back up by a freak wind, but at the same time, that sound would also be consistent with that of a jet at very high altitude ─ and it doesn't even have to be a hypersonic or supersonic one. You said earlier that the Russians had been flying over during the past couple of days, so perhaps it's a spy plane.
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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Actually, I've heard loud booms and usually attribute them to exploding transformers...but yes, i've heard them...living in an urban area and good 2nd guess are shotguns, pistols...

    that sound I'm hearing now is weird. Sounds like the Angel of Hell blasting his own horn...
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    Senior Member Ireland sarahdita85's Avatar
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    Just read something about changes in the magnetosphere that can cause these sounds due to our magnetic field weakening as the poles are reversing. Thats the most sensible explaination in my opinion. I dont think we all have thomas the tank engine going past our homes at 2am. Our trains stop at 10pm.

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    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by sarahdita85 View Post
    Just read something about changes in the magnetosphere that can cause these sounds due to our magnetic field weakening as the poles are reversing.
    That's a very sober and prosaic explanation, but yes, that could be it. People have been coming up with the craziest explanations even in the mainstream ─ like that it would be the mating sound of a particular type of crabs ─ but something changing in the upper atmosphere is indeed a more likely cause.
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