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No. 46: Jul-Aug 1986

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Curious Luminous Display Over The Pacific Ocean

Our general policy admits only those phenomena described in the scientific literature, but here we must make an exception. This account, submitted by a retired Air Force colonel, is unlike anything we have found before -- either meteorological or auroral.

"During the last week of August 1970, I was on a trip from Viet Nam to Clark AFB, Philippines. We were cruising at 9000 feet. We had departed Camron Bay between 2 and 3 AM. Upon reaching cruise altitude, I noticed a rather unusual display in the sky. Our magnetic heading from V.N. to Clark was approximately 155. The display appeared on the horizon in an easterly direction. It consisted of a series of dashes perhaps the color of the moon with a south-to-north directional flow. There was no visible beginning of this display,such as you would see in a comet

"The awesome feature of this display was its magnitude. I thought if whatever was creating the display collided with our Earth, then we would no longer exist. I also feel that I was seeing only a small portion of the whole. As hindsight I can only regret that I did not report this sighting through Air Traffic Control channels. The crew discussed and speculated on what we had seen, then promptly forgot about it."

The account continues, relating how on the next night, when the aircraft departed the Philippines for Guam and Wake Island, the same phenomenon appeared in the east, although the plane's heading was then about 60. The display appeared unchanged on two more mights on the legs from Wake to Hawaii and Hawaii to California. On the fifth night, however, from California to Washington, DC, nothing was seen.

(Silva, John J.; personal communication, December 28, 1985.)

Moving dashes of light seen over the Pacific Ocean

From Science Frontiers #46, JUL-AUG 1986. 1986-2000 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