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No. 47: Sep-Oct 1986

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Another Luminous Aerial Bubble

September 1943. On a ship in the South Atlantic enroute from South Africa to Brazil.

"During the voyage, a multicolored object about the size of a basketball appeared and the ship changed course to parallel the course of the object. The object was in view for about 20 minutes, moved slowly across the water at a height of 5 feet, and finally disappeared. It looked like a glass ball and appeared to have a membrane enclosing it. Its motion was from the NW to SE and it was seen sometime between 3:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon sometime in September 1943. The color was at times orange and yellow, sometimes green, blue, and red. The sky was overcast and the object was on the starboard side of the ship as it moved towards the NW. The ship's crew, consisting of about 20 men, saw the event and concluded that it might be a 'fireball.'"

Original observation by Charles L. Reifenhler.

(Seal, James; personal communication, June 25, 1986.)

Comment. For more accounts of Lumi-nouw Aerial Bubbles, see category GLD7 in Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights. This catalog is described here.

Luminous, multicolored, bubble-like spheres observed at Ringstead Bay August 17, 1876. Numerous, luminous, multicolored, bubble-like spheres observed at Ringstead Bay, England. Thousands of the iridescent spheres engulfed observers. This account (Catlog #GLD7-X3) is in the same class as the above observation.

From Science Frontiers #47, SEP-OCT 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