Monday, April 7, 2008

from Proceedings of the British Meteorological Society, 1865

(page 289)

Though the fiery shower was passed, there appeared at 3:47 a phenomenon much more startling than that. It appeared like a serpent, of symmetrical form, and of such brightness as to impress me with the idea of solidity: it was coiled up. The apparent diameter of the coil was about three times that of the moon. I called a witness, who pronounced it to be like a conger eel. A star of the fourth magnitude in Leo Minor appeared to be exactly in the centre of the coil, the position being right ascension 10h 23m, north declination 36°. For 2 minutes no change of position could be observed, although it was agitated by a tremulous motion. It then began to move, at first very slowly, gradually to uncoil itself and expand its proportions; its course was southward; its motion became accelerated, and simultaneously its size increased and brightness diminished. Eventually it assumed a parabolic form, the apex taking precedence, and finally vanished at 3h 55m, having been visible 8 minutes and traversed a space of about 15°. The point where this object appeared is 13° north, and slightly east of the point of apparent divergence of the meteors. It is worthy of remark that it passed through and disappeared near that place. It is much to be desired that this remarkable object may have been seen at distant places. The sky was very clear, and nearly cloudless throughout, a strong breeze blowing from the west.

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