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The last update: October 11, 2018

Here is some info on a problem of electrophonic sounds, i.e. sounds simultaneous with a bright bolide passage.

  • From METEORITE!: This my letter resulted in reaction by C. Keay, and here is the follow-up debate with him in the February 1999 issue of METEORITE! (p.42)

    As the debate was stopped by the editor, I would like to add that I indeed don't realize how does C. Keay want to use the transducer to hear electrophonic sounds with such great efficiency, unless he means that there must be a large antenna, and the crystal set with head-phones near (inside?) a human ear... Unfortunately, he never details this in his articles...
    The Ivanov and Medvedev's article mentioned by C. Keay also can not help to explain electrophonic sounds (and of course, it has nothing to do with the Keay's mechanism), as their mechanism resulted that a bright bolide could produce slow-varying magnetic field variation and of rather low amplitude.
    About the same can be said about the C. Keay's words on "the action of a zenithal meteor entering on a steep trajectory to produce a conductive path below the ionosphere which creates a strong transient in the geoelectric field at the surface of the Earth". This could be just if an observer is almost on a trajectory of extremely bright bolide penetrating almost to the ground level... And even in this almost "mortal" case, the geoelectric field variation will be rather slow to fit into the Keay's mechanism (but please, pay attention that, as I wrote above, I think that a bolide can trigger some geophysical processes resulting in various geoelectric field disturbances).
    It is remarkable, that initially C. Keay has written about his idea (ELF/VLF electromagnetic radiation from a bolide's wake caused by a turbulent "magnetic spaghetti" relaxation in it), as a solution to electrophonic sounds. Now he appeals to other mechanisms too...
    Also, unfortunately, there are no new research involving the Space Shuttle still. As I know, previous research detected no appreciable electromagnetic radiation during its re-entry. But there was very important research with Leonids meteors, proving existence of electrophonic phenomena (see below).

  • And here is from the Feb.3, 2001 issue of NEW SCIENTIST magazine:

  • Below is my abstract accepted by METEOROIDS 2001 conference (unfortunately I was not able able to attend the conference for delivering the report):

  • Below is VERY IMPORTANT eyewitness's account of electrophonic sounds associated with a missile launch. It was not published yet, but I hope it will be published soon.
    The electrophonic sounds were associated with Trident D 2 missile launches. Its another striking feature is that the eyewitness was several hundreds km away from the launches.
    Here is how the launches are described in the American Meteor Society's Fireball Sightings Log According to the the Orbital Report News Agency three suborbital missile Trident 2 were launched from somewhere east of Cape Canaveral from submarine˙ USS Louisiana ).
    One of the eyewitnesses - a 44 years old woman (she asked not to mention her name, unless it is strongly needed) reported to internet METEOROBS Mailing List ( ) on August 3, 2001, and then to the author the following:
    She was at the latitude approximately 34 degrees 16' 22.5". The longitude was 80 degrees 37' 00" (the instersection of these coordinates is just slightly east and south of the pond she was standing beside when she saw the fireball). She heard rushing sounds at the time of the sighting:
    The report is remarkable and very important, as it is well-established that such missile launches don't produce any appreciable level of VLF/ELF electromagnetic radiation. The report does not conform with theories that the powerful radiation from a bolide wake is the source of the sounds. On the other side, it well conforms with my idea that a bolide is just a trigger in certain geophysical environment of some still poorly understood geophysical processes which produce the sounds (possibly directly affecting our mind).
    Interestingly that the eyewitness was near a pond, and it seems that electrophonic sounds, as well as similar, so called "earthquake sounds" (often preceding earthquakes) gravitate to water reservoirs (or their borders) indeed.
    Also remarkably, that I wrote in my article Izvestiya [Russ. Acad. Sci.], Physics of the Solid Earth. English edition, v.29, no. 12, p.1043 (1993)) that a large missile's (especially with a solid-propellant engine) launch sometime could play the same role as a bolide. And it seems to be confirmed now. By the way, Trident 2 is a solid-propelled missile....

  • Below is a text I found in W. Corliss "Incredible Life" book. According to it, the original text is from NATURE v.64, p.233 (1901). It demonstrates, how little we know still... I can just add my question to the Mr Hutt's one (I am afraid that he never got an answer to his question...).
    Could it be:
    - A sound of a weak acoustical disturbance produced by a moving source of heat through the air? (I doubt that it was used to be a supersonic, as in the latter it could be hardly used for "search").
    - A sound of some insects, etc. in the air reacting on the light?
    - Something related with electrophonic sounds?

    For me the second and the third possibilities are the most probable.

  • It seems that electrophonic sounds reality has been confirmed! Here is from

    And here is my comment on the post above from


  • Sounds associated with Aurora have been recorded!

    I incline to think that the auroral sounds have similar nature with the electrophonic sounds. So I hope that there are good chances that soon we can find out the nature of electrophonic sounds!

    UPDATE of Oct.11, 2018. A note about large progress in understanding the sounds of aurorae is written in the Oct.10 version of SPACEWEATHER:

    I wish success to Unto K. Laine!

  • A brief comment regarding reviving of a light-heating idea.

    Regarding of reviving (in updated form) of an old idea that origin of the electrophonic sounds is heating by bolide's light.
    There are cases when this explanation does not work.

    1) Electrophonic sounds can accompany weak (bright-as-Venus) meteors.
    2) Some witness's heard the sounds being inside rooms, etc. Here is just one example associated with the Khmelevka
    meteorite fall:
    O.Ya. Mamozhinets from the village Egorovka heard some kind of sound, and then saw a bright light in the window.
    A.V. Preobrazhentseva from the village Cheredovka heard as someone was riding a sleigh and then the hut was lit.


    Remarkably that electrophonic phenomena accompanied the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteoritic event are similar to those which accompany spacebody's entries with energy deposition several orders of magnitude less! This is in favour of my idea that such energy deposition is a trigger of some processes which we don't understand still...


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