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No. 41: Sep-Oct 1985

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Green Sky Flashes

March 25, 1984. Indian Ocean.

"Two successive 'green flashes' were observed. The first, at 2100 Ship's Time or 1530 GMT, was a bright green and bore 240 at an altitude of 75; it moved vertically downwards to an altitude of approximately 20 over a period lasting about 3 seconds. The second flash was observed at 2250 Ship's Time. It was green/white and was first observed at an altitude of 40, bearing approximately 340.It moved diagonally across the sky before disappearing behind low cloud at an altitude of 30, bearing 310. This time the duration was 1-2 seconds. In both cases the ship's radars were turned on but nothing was observed other than rain showers between 4 and 12 n. mile from the ship, mainly forward of the beam. Both flashes were of about the same brightness as that of lightning, the first being brighter than the second. In both cases it was difficult to judge the distance. The phenomenon was thought to have possibly been some form of lightning as its appearance was unlike that of any flare and in both cases the distance from the ship did not appear great enough to be compatible with a meteor or other object entering the earth's atmosphere."

(Aston, A.; "'Green Flashes'"; Marine Observer, 55:30, 1985.)

Comment. Probably low-altitude fireballs.

Green flashes in sky

From Science Frontiers #41, SEP-OCT 1985. 1985-2000 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