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No. 129: MAY-JUN 2000

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Contagious St. Elmo's Fire

February 8, 1999. North Sea. Aboard the m.v. Repulse Bay, enroute Rotterdam to hamburg.

Whilst the vessel was in the German Bight, in position 53°57' N. 07°08' E, a classic example of St. Elmo's fire was observed at 0230 UT C. A high-pitched buzzing sound was heard on the corner of the bridge wing, and what seemed to be a glow was also present. Observers were able to pick up the static and saw short flame-like 'tufts' of blue and violet appear on the ends of their finger-tips, as if the fingers had ignited.

The 'flames' were able to be passed from person to person, and were even placed upon another observer's forehead!

There were no electrical storms in the area but there was a mixture of hail and snow falling at the time. Two of the observers experienced strong electrical shocks from each other, and also electric shocks each time snow landed on their skin -- a very peculiar experience!
(Byrne, K.; "St. Elmo's Fire," Marine Observer, 70:6, 2000.)

Standing stone located near Ungava Bay, Quebec

St. Elmo's fire experienced atop pikes Peak in Colorado.
(From: Lightning Auroras...)

From Science Frontiers #129, MAY-JUNE 2000. 2000 William R. Corliss

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