Seeing this thing hurtling through the sky, flaring up like it did, with visible flames in the middle of the sky
(!), then that humungous boom?! I would not blame anyone for wondering if it was an attack or the end of the world.
That sonic boom was HUGE! I've heard some, mostly when I was younger but also some with the shuttle landing in the desert, and they were never that loud. What causes the volume? Size? Speed?