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No. 51: May-Jun 1987

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Remarkable Photograph Of The Marfa Light

The century-old fame of the Marfa, Texas, nocturnal light was greatly enhanced some months ago, when it was written up in the Wall Street Journal, of all places! We now have at hand a time-exposure photograph showing the typical erratic motion and flickering nature of this "spook" light. The photo was taken by James Crocker in September 1986. The location was 10 miles deep in Mitchell Flats, southbound from Highway 90. A single-lens reflex camera mounted on a tripod was used. Exposure was less than 3 minutes, at f/1.8, 50 mm lens, EL 400 color film. Three additional observers were present.

It is interesting that the light's motion resembles that of some observations and photos of ball lightning. The lights in the upper right, just above the right loop of the Marfa light, are thought to be car lights on Route 67, about 10 miles distant. Unfortnately, the photo is too difficult to reproduce here. See our book: Science Frontiers: Some Anomalies and Curiosities of Nature for a good reproduction. Ordering information here.

Marfa Light, Texas Time-exposure photograph of the famed Marfa Light in Texas. See text for details (c) James Crocker.

From Science Frontiers #51, MAY-JUN 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss