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No. 118: Jul-Aug 1998

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Unidentified Light

May 4, 1997. North Atlantic Ocean. Aboard the s.t.s. Astrid enroute from the Azores to Dartmouth.

"At 0443 UTC a light was sighted high in the sky above the ship. The light was of the style of a satellite in appearance. However, it was seen for about 10-15 seconds moving west to northwest, with a pulsating white light. In addition, it was moving very fast and it also stopped dead a couple of times.
"At one point, the light stopped and turned in the direction of the ship. The light no longer pulsated, and for about one second it was in the form of a spotlight lighting the surrounding area. The light then turned back again and moved very, very fast across the sky before it was lost below the horizon in a matter of seconds."

(Ulrich, G.; "Unidentified Light," Marine Observer, 68:64, 1998.)

Comment. The erratic motion and use of a searchlight are typical of some of the UFO reports seen in newspapers. However, the Marine Observer is a publication of the UK Meteorological Office.

In the above "encounter," aircraft, satellites, and meteors do not fit the testimony of the observers.

From Science Frontiers #118, JUL-AUG 1998. 1998-2000 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