Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/567

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.





There was one feature of the aurora of August 21, as seen from York Harbor, Maine, of so extraordinary a character as to deserve permanent record. I refer to the arch extending from east to west with its pendant comet-like attachments as shown in the illustration, which last, though unskilfully drawn, gives a fairly correct diagrammatic representation of the phenomenon.

PSM V63 D567 An unusual aurora borealis.png

An Unusual Aurora Borealis.

It was a clear starlit night with a low bank of cloud along the northwestern horizon. No moon. The display began between 7 and 8 p. m., with the usual nebulous luminosity in the northern sky with occasional streaks shooting upwards. These gradually became fainter and of but little interest, when, at 9.30 p. m., there appeared a magnificent arch spanning the heavens from east to west, the top of the arch being a little north of the zenith, and almost overhead. As shown in the diagram at least three fourths of the eastern half of the arch consisted of a pale, only half-luminous column of visible streaks, the band being perhaps as wide as the diameter of a full moon appears to be. The western segment of the arch presented a most extraordinary and magnificent spectacle.

Beginning a little east of the zenith and continuing almost to the western horizon, there appeared what might easily be likened to a string of tremendous comets. These pennants of