Letter | Published:

Meteors

Abstract

LAST night at 11h. 2m. I saw in the north-west, near the horizon, one of those slow-moving balls of fire, not so bright as an ordinary meteor, and leaving no train. This seemed the size of a cricket ball; but I have seen one the size of a cheese-plate. A few flashes of lightning occurred soon after. From the slowness of the motion the phenomenon seemed to be wholly atmospheric. It was in sight for about three or four seconds. It instantly suggested an incandescent vortex whorl; but I cannot say whether the appearance confirmed the idea or not, for I do not know how such a meteor would look. Its red light might be due to its proximity to the horizon, perhaps 8°. Hence there is no dependence to be placed upon my impression that the light was the result of friction rather than of electricity. I have seen probably a dozen in the course of my life, always in the west or north-west, and always about the same height from the horizon, but never annular.

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