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No. 110: Mar-Apr 1997

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Unidentified Light

November 20, 1995. North Atlantic. Aboard the m.v. Uruguay Express enroute Santos to Bilboa.

"At 0230 UTC a very bright light was noted on the port side about 50 from the bow, it lasted for about 5 seconds and then disappeared.
"Knowing of no bright star in that position, the observers checked the area with binoculars and saw two small lights which were as bright as a star of very small magnitude, travelling at a very fast rate and at a steady distance from each other. No navigation lights were seen. One light then disappeared and the other changed course upwards before disappearing about 3 seconds later, neither object left a trail."

The sky was cloudless and visibility was good. The vessel was about 200 miles south of the Cape Verde Islands.

(Chiappara, H.; "Unidentified Light," Marine Observer, 66:186, 1996.)

Comment. Another maddening, elusive, UFO-like sighting, of which there are many from similarly reliable sources. One wonders what caused the initial "very bright light."

Reference. Many similar mysterious lights are cataloged under GLM2 in Lightning, Auroras. Book description here.

From Science Frontiers #110, MAR-APR 1997. 1997-2000 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