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No. 5: November 1978

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Cometary Appearance Of Venus

The famed astronomer Johann Maedler first recorded strange brushes of light emanating from the bright limb of Venus. Two luminous fans opening sunward gave the planet the appearance of a multitailed comet. Maedler made this curious observation on April 7, 1833; and it has come to be known as the Maedler Phenomenon. If it were not for Maedler's fame as an honest, meticulous observer, the event would have been fogotten long ago. A similar observation was made by Gadbury in 1686. The only explanation for the phenomenon offered so far involves some sort of obscure type of halo or sun-pillar effect.

(Baum, Richard; "The Maedler Phenomenon," Strolling Astronomer, 27:118, 1978.)

Cometary appearance of Venus

From Science Frontiers #5, November 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