Go Back Report # 1316

05-24-1881        Professional English translation follows Spanish text

 

 

CHILE.

[De El Ferrocarril de Santiago, Chile.]

 

     El señor F. Reiners, capitán de la  barca alemana Acolus, comunica el hecho siguiente:

 

     "El 24 de Mayo del corriente año, hallándose mi buque en 56° 40' latitud sur, y 79° longitud occidental, cayó una bola incandescente del cielo cerca del buque. Eran las 8½ y teníamos una nevazón cerrada; estaba yo leyendo en mi camarote, cuando noté una vislumbre brillante encima de la cubierta, y me sentí como electrizado en todos los miembros. Subí corriendo, y ví caer un meteoro luminoso del diámetro de medio metro, a la distancia de unos ocho pies del buque, produciendo un chillido al caer en agua, y luego un terrible estallido. Inmediatamente después se oyó un trueno en el aire, y éste se sintió caliente. El piloto 2° [meaning: segundo = second] y el timonero se quejaron de tener los ojos cegados por la intensidad de la luz del fenómeno, durando la ceguedad casi cinco minutos, y dos marineros que se paseaban cerca del palo mayor fueron arrojados al suelo. Inmediatamente después del trueno vimos en los tres topes y las estremidades [sic-extremidades] de todas las vergas luces de S. Telmo. El aire asumió luego la temperatura que había tenido antes del fenómeno, es decir, 2, 4° 6”1. Los fenómenos que acompañaron la caída de este aerolito, la luz viva, el calor intenso, el ruido en la atmósfera, son los mismo que se han observado en otros casos, pero no me acuerdo que fenómenos eléctricos de tanta intensidad hayan sido observados o descrito antes."

—Dr. R. A. Philippi.

CHILE.

[From El Ferrocarril in Santiago, Chile.]

 

Mr. F. Reiners, captain of the German boat Acolus, communicates the following fact:

 

     “On May 24 of the current year, my ship in latitude 56° 40' south, longitude 79° west, an incandescent ball fell from the sky near the ship. It was 8:30 and we were having a heavy snowstorm; I was reading in my cabin when I noticed a brilliant glimmer on the deck, and I felt electrified in all my limbs. I ran up and saw a luminous meteor with a diameter of half a meter fall at the distance of approximately eight feet from the ship, producing a shriek upon falling into the water, and then a terrible explosion. Immediately afterwards a clap of thunder was heard in the air, and this felt hot. The 2nd mate and the helmsman complained of having their eyes blinded by the intensity of the light of the phenomenon, the blindness lasting almost five minutes, and two sailors who were walking near the mast were thrown to the ground. Immediately after the thunder we saw St. Elmo’s Fire on the three mastheads and the ends of all the yardarms. The air then assumed the temperature that it had had before the phenomenon, that is to say, 2, 4° 6"1. The phenomena that accompanied the fall of this meteorite, the bright light, the intense heat, the noise in the atmosphere, are the same that have been observed in other cases, but I do not remember that electrical phenomena of such intensity have been observed or described before.

—Dr. R. A. Philippi.

 

The article, but not the letter, is signed by the naturalist Dr. R. A. Philippi.

 

Note 1: I was unable to decipher the temperature coding, however, assuming the captain of the ship is as German as the ship, I would assume that the temperature would be expressed in Celsius. Therefore, the 4 degrees converted to Fahrenheit would equal 39.2F. This would be appropriate for the season of late May as the season there is moving towards winter. As a comparison:

November (in the U.S.) is equivalent to our May in Chile.

December (in the U.S.) is equivalent to our June in Chile.

Reference: http://www.exchile.com/guideseasons.html

 

Reference for the above text is: From El Ferrocarril de Santiago, Chile. As printed in newspaper: Voz del Nuevo Mundo, published as La Voz Del Nuevo Mundo; Date: 10-22-1881; Page: 1; Location: San Francisco, California.

My source (CF): E-mail from Chris Aubeck, dated June 27, 2011.

 

UFOCAT PRN - NONE

 

Location as per text. Body of water is the Pacific Ocean.

Latitude 56-40 S, Longitude 79-00 W (D-M)

This is near the southern tip of Chile.

I again assume the captain was en route to Europe as the Panama Canal was not completed until 1914, and this would be the quickest route home.

 

 



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