Monday, January 23, 2012

from Scots Magazine, 1811

(page 648)

On the 15th of May, at half past eight o'clock in the evening, a luminous meteor was seen at Paris: the sky was serene and the atmosphere was very calm. This meteor, which appeared to be at a considerable height, lasted several minutes. It balanced itself in all directions in the air, and at length exploded, without any report or detonation. Nothing more than a smoke of vapour was perceived, which afterwards formed a cloud.

It was seen also at Augsburgh, at 37 minutes past 8 o'clock in the evening, at which time an indistinct noise was heard, which issued from a small black cloud, thick, globe-shaped, about half the diameter of the moon, and westward of a large stormy cloud. This globe divided itself at the height of an angle of 7 degrees 40 minutes; and was instantly followed by a luminous zig-zag in a southerly direction; another zig-zag still larger succeeded to the former, and pointing vertically, then rapidly to the north under an angle of 2 degrees 30 minutes, but the light of this was paler than that of the former. It again resumed a vertical direction, and returned to the southward under an angle of 2 degrees, but very obscure.

A black vapour seemed to issue from the globe and to lose itself in the atmosphere.

On the same day, at a quarter past 3 o'clock in the evening, the same meteor phenomenon was observed at Lansanne, in the north-west region of the heavens. The weather was calm and serene. It was a kind of water spout, formed apparently of a thin cloud completely resplendent with light, the base of it something larger than the top, the whole length occupying a space of about 30 degrees. Its direction was at first vertical, but it afterwards bent itself insensibly into the figure of an S. This meteor rested perfectly stationary without any visible progressive motion, and without any perceptible noise whatsoever. It disappeared after having lasted about a quarter of an hour.

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