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Mystery Flash and Big Boom Rattles Virginia

Editor's Note: On Tuesday, astronomers agreed that this event was most likely caused by a natural meteor. Click here to read the latest account.

Amysterious flash of light and loud boom occurred over the skies of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va., on Sunday night, but just what caused the phenomenon is still unknown.

Calls fromlocal residents to 911 began coming in at around 9:45 p.m. EDT, with somepeople reporting their doors and windows rattled when the boom went off,according to reports from WVEC-TV.

Similarreports in the past often have turned out to involve meteors,which can explode in the atmosphere to create a loud noise and bright flashof light that streaks across the sky. However, often times the source ofevents like this are not determined.

In a recentscientific first, meteorite fragments of an asteroid that was spotted in spacebefore it exploded over the African desert in October were recentlyrecovered and examined by scientists.

The jury isstill out as to what caused Sunday's event.

LocalNational Weather Service meteorologists have been in touch with the U.S. Navy,Air Force and NASA, but have not heard back these sources and don't knowwhether they are actively investigating the cause of the boom, said WakefieldNWS forecaster Jeff Lewitsky.

"Theonly thing we know for sure at this point is that it wasn't meteorologicallyrelated," Lewitsky told SPACE.com.

Lewitskysaid meteorologists have looked back at their radar and lightning strike dataduring the time period and didn't find anything that could explain the event.He also said they had received no more reports on the incident and no photos ofthe light streak have come in.

Officialsat Norfolk International Airport had received reports of the light andexplosion, but hadn't observed anything out of the ordinary at the airport,according to WVEC-TV.

TheNational Weather Service told WVEC-TV that the reports of the light and thebang were coming in from Maryland to North Carolina.

TheNational Weather Service released a statement at 11:17 p.m. Sunday:

"Numerousreports have been called in to this office and into local law enforcementconcerning what appeared to be flashes of light in the sky over theSuffolk/Virginia Beach area. We are confident in saying that this was notlightning ... and have been in contact with military and other governmentagencies to determine the cause. So far ... we have not seen or heard of anydamage from this and will continue to inquire as to the cause."

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