Friday, March 28, 2008

from The London Magazine, 1783

(page 493, excerpts)

Another gentleman, who was on the road from Stamford a few miles from the habitation of the last mentioned one, saw the meteor rise from the horizon, about N.W. by N. or perhaps N.N.W. and pass to the east of his zenith, moving pretty quickly towards the S.E. by S. or S.E. He lost sight of it by its going behind a cloud, as the former gentleman, did. To this latter gentleman it appeared as if there were three balls in a line, about two feet asunder, and following one another in the same track. Some little time after the meteor had disappeared, he heard a noise, as of thunder, beween the E. and S.E.

This remarkable circumstance of the meteor appearing like three distinct balls, is confirmed by a gentleman who saw it near Upper Clapton; and who has obliged me with a drawing of it, representing the meteor as it appeared to him.

Mr. Amyss, master of the White-Horse inn, about five miles from St. Edmunds-Bury, in the road to Newmarket, was looking out the window that fronts the north-west, and saw a great light in the horizon, seemingly over Cavenham, a village on the borders of the fens, and which, as I find by Kirby's map of Suffolk, bears about N.W. by N. or perhaps a little more westerly of the White-Horse inn. It kept proceeding slowly on towards Mr. Amyss' house; and when it was within about a quarter of a mile of it shed innumerablel stars, each of which appeared to have a tail. It passed directly over his house; and, as the observer thought, but just clear of the chimneys. He ran to a back window, and saw it keep on its course towards Great Saxham, the seat of Hutchinson Muire, Esq. and soon lost sight of it beyond the trees and rising grounds which confine his horizon that way. About a minute after he lost sight of the meteor, he heard a loud noise, as if something very heavy had fallen down in a room over his head. He then looked at his watch, and found it wanted 20 minutes to 10 o'clock. He judged that he saw the meteor for three minutes; but in this he might be easily deceived, and I believe he was. He says the light was of a bluish cast, and that the length of the meteor was about three rods; which is 16 or 17 yards.


I have also an extract of a letter from a gentleman, a lieutenant on one of his Majesty's ships of war, which was then cruising off the north of Ireland, who relates that he saw the same meteor moving along the north-east quarter, nearly parallel to the horizon, and at no great height above it; but he adds something singular enough, namely, that a little time afterwards he saw it moving back again, the contrary way to that which it came.

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