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No. 4: July 1978

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Curious Patches Of Light On The Horizon

March 24, 1977. Aboard the m.v. Kinpurnie Castle. Captain M. Brackenbridge. Cape Town to Antwerp. Observers, the Master, Mr. C.A. Neave, 3rd Officer and Mr. T.J. Martel, Radio Officer.

"At 0855 GMT the look-out observed what appeared to be a searchlight shining downwards for about 10 seconds on a bearing of 300T and 20 above the horizon. This light was extinguished and was replaced by a luminescent patch of approximately one degree in diameter. A semi-circular area of over-all moderate luminosity formed about the luminescent patch. This took about three minutes to form and the dimensions are shown in the sketch.

Curious patches of light

When this had formed, another luminescent patch was also observed above the semicircular area and after a total period of seven minutes the phenomenon dispersed completely. Weather conditions were as follows: dry bulb 19.0C, wet bulb 17.0C, barometer reading 1016.7 mb, good visibility, no cloud. Position of ship: 23 05'N, 17 25'W."

(Brackenbridge, M.; "Unidentified Phenomenon," Marine Observer, 48:21, 1978.)

From Science Frontiers #4, July 1978. 1978-2000 William R. Corliss