Sunday, December 14, 2008

from The Philosophy of Storms, 1841

(page 408; excerpt from a letter, from Mr. Auter, Professor of Mathematics, in the College of Orotava. Dated November 10th, 1826.)

About two o'clock in the morning, I saw a light resembling an aurora borealis, but more bright. Streaks of light shot from the centre to the north of my house, which reached to the forty-second degree. The interposition of the convent of St. Francis, prevented me from seeing the focus of these phosphorescent lights, which lasted from seven to eight minutes, and disappeared again for a quarter of an hour. This luminous phenomenon was very interesting, and I watched to try to discover the cause. The light appeared again, more brilliant and more extended than before, and this time, the focus had changed its position, although concealed by the hills on the coast. This light disappeared again to show itself in different places. All continued to attract my attention, when I saw globes of fire in different directions. These new meteors crossed quickly in diameter, but they did not shoot out so much light as at first, they seemed to float on the waves; some seemed at several leagues from the shore, whilst the others shot streaks behind the elevation on the coast. 

In turning to the south west, I perceived some at the foot of the Tygayga Mountains, about a league from the coast, and, no doubt, there were others, in other directions on the heights which overlooked the valley. These meteors disappeared at four o'clock in the morning. 

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