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No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996

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Anomalous Radar Echoes And Visual Phenomenon

Band-shaped 'ghosts' seen on radar off the east coast of Africa
Band-shaped "ghosts" seen on radar off the east coast of Africa.
November 16, 1994. Eastern North Atlantic. Aboard the m.v. City of Durban. Enroute from Le Havre to Capetown. As seen by three of the ship's officers:

"At 2230 UTC the observers noted on both the 3-cm and 10-cm radars, as well as visually, a wave or band-like phenomenon shown as a succession of 'bands' approximately 4 n.mile long with a uniform separation of about 0.8 n.mile.

"The bands appeared as if they were precipitation but on passing through one of them nothing was observed nor were there any other particles [i.e., no wind-blown dust], seeing as the vessel was off the West African coast at the time. The bands themselves caused a rippling effect on the sea surface of roughly 150 m wide, giving an otherwise calm sea a black appearance beneath them on what was a well moonlit night. Although the phenomenon looked like rain bands, the observers could not give an otherwise definite solution for it."

(Herring, R.M.; "Radar Echoes," Marine Observer, 65:170, 1995)

From Science Frontiers #103, JAN-FEB 1996. 1996-2000 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