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No. 3: April 1978

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Marsh gas or the planet venus?

October 16, 1976. Aboard the m.t. Farnelia, Barents Sea fishing grounds. Observers, Skipper H. Powdrell and Mr. G. Christmas, Radio Officer.

"At 2307 GMT while I was visiting the wheelhouse, the Skipper pointed out to me an object flying across the sky. It had already been in view for some five minutes or more and was first observed on a bearing of 140T heading due North. I first sighted it on a bearing of 050T.

"Observation was constantly kept by myself and the Skipper with the aid of binoculars from the time I first sighted the object. It could be described as being a brilliant light travelling at a very high altitude, leaving a bright Vshaped trail of rays which could be likened to the sun's rays as they would appear from behind a cloud. However, they were very much smaller due to the height and were also horizontal. The object followed a course from south to north to be astern of us at 2308. It then commenced to come back along its course while losing altitude. I would point out here that there was no visual evidence of the object actually turning back but rather as though it had been put into reverse.

"The appearance and shape of the object was now changed, becoming totally circular in shape, still losing height and coming closer. The outer edge of the circle I would describe as glowing and within that was another circular object, more intense, and within that was a brilliant pulsating white light as when the object was first sighted. The object reached its closest point to us by 2317 on a bearing of 040T.

"The object stayed in this position for approx. two minutes and then vanished within the outer glow, this glow finally fading from our sight also. At 2320 nothing was left to be seen of either the object or the glow.

Brilliant pulsating light at centre

"I have tried to reproduce what the Skipper and I saw in sketch form. The object was also seen by several other vessels who were fishing in the area with us. The night was fine with a small amount of low cloud, a quarter moon and an average number of stars. Position of ship: 69 56'N, 33 46'E."

(Powdrell, H.; "UFO," Marine Observer, 47:177, 1977.)

From Science Frontiers #3, April 1978. 1978-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987