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fparks of fire; while the head moved
Mr. William Dutton, watch-maker on in the same direction, until it was in Fleet-street, happened to be walkvertical to that city, or, perhaps, to ing with another gentleman, with his some place a little to the northward of face towards the eart, at Chigwell-row, it, and then became extinct. 'That the in Efex; which stands on a pretty path of this meteor was inclined to the high hill, about twelve miles from plane of the horizon is evident, because London.
He saw the meteor bearing the observations make it approach northward of the eart, in appearance nearer to the earth as it proceeded not very high the air, though with northerly, and that with more regu a very considerable angle of elevation: Tarity than could be expected from such perhaps 70 or so degrees. It passed obfervations; so that it does not appear to the east of his zenith, and moved to have been more than, if so much as with great velocity, from the north thirty miles high when it was extin- towards the south, and seemingly in a guithed over Glasgow. We may fur- curve line downwards; and he loft ther infer, if we take a medium of fight of it when it bore fouch of him, the estimated apparent diameters of the and was about four or five degrees meteor, when compared with its real above the horizon. It was of a round distance from the respective places form, about the fize of the planet where the eftimations were made, that Venus, when she is brightest; had a its real diameter could not be less than faint tail of about two feet, like balf a mile. And laftly, if we allow that of a comet, and was of a bluish those estimations of its duration, which cast, but very bright. When he loft seem most probable, and divide the fight of it, several particles still brightdistance it travelled over (near four er than itself, and somewhat like the Hundred miles) by that time, it will stars that are seen on the breaking of appear to have proceeded with the a rocket, seemed to issue out of it. amazing velocity of near thirty miles The whole time of its appearance did in a second.
not exceed 3 or 4 seconds. In the year 1759, I meet with three
So much for the observations that obfervations of a meteor which was had been made on the sort of meteors feen on the 20th of October, about fix which appear like balls of fire, previo'clock in the evening. The firit was ous to the present autumn: and in this at Shefford, in Berkshire, by a servant account I have omitied no obfervation of the Rev. Mr. Forster's, who de- I could meet with; nor any circumfcribed it to be a ball of fire nearly as fance relating to any of them that arbig as the moon, and full as bright as peared to me material; fo that the reathe ever thines; and that its motion der has before him every material fact was exceeding swift, and directly down.
that has yet been ascertained concernwards.
ing them. I shall now proceed to Mr. Colebroke, who saw it at Bath, relate fuch observations of the three writes that it was a ball of fire of the late meteors * as have come to my bigness of a tennis ball; very bright, hands, as well as all those I can collect and with a train of four or five feet in from the public papers that appear to length. That it darted from the be well authenticated. N. W. defcribing a great circle on his I have not been able to find that the left hand, and lunk behind the hills meteor of the 18th of Auguft was in the fouth-eat. Just before he loft seen at any place farther north than fight of it several large sparks of bright Edinburgh; nor have I met with any blue fire itiued from it; but it did not particulars of it from that place, except seem to burit. It was not visible to that it was like a globe of fire, and dihim more than two feconds; and he rected its course from west to fouthheard no noise of any kind.
At * Since this paper was written, one from the Res. Dr. Maskelyne, Aftronomer Royal, has been ied before tire Royal Society, on the subject on the late meteors: from which it appears that five
At York it passed a little to the Another gentleman, who was on the south west of that city; but its road from Stanford a few miles from the direction is not mentioned.
habitation cf the last mentioned one, saw also seen at Whitby, Bridlington, the meteor rise from the horizon, about Malton, and Hull; but the observers N. W. by N. or perhaps N. N. W. relate no particulars concerning it, ex and pass to the east of his zenith, movcept that every one of them thought it ing pretty quickly towards the S. E. was extinguished very near the place by S. or S. É. He loft fight of it by where he stood: in which they were its going behind a cloud, as the former undoubtedly much deceived.
gentleman, did. To this latter genA gentleman, who was on the road tleman it appeared as if there were from Wakefield to Sheffield, writes three balls in a line, about two feet that at ten minutes past nine o'clock at asunder, and following one another in night, on the 18th of August, he was the same track. Some little time after suddenly surprised by the appearance the meteor had disappeared, he heard of light, resembling the glare of pale a noise, as of thunder, between the E. lightening, and which increased gra- and S. E. dually to a most brilliant refulgence, This remarkable circumítance of the illuminating the whole hemisphere. meteor appearing like three distinct On looking out of the chaise, he saw balls, is confirmed by a gentleman who a ball of fire, with a long train, re faw it near Upper Clapton; and who sembling a sky-rocket, and moving has obliged me with a drawing of it, with great rapidity from N. W. to representing the meteor as it appeared S. E. The duration of its appearance to him. I have given this drawing in was about 20 seconds. It is much to the next page. be lamented this gentleman did not Mr. Amyss, master of the Whitetake notice whether it passed to the Horse inn, about fire miles from St. N. E. or S. W. of him; and how Edmunds-Bury, in the road to Newmuch it declined from his zenith, market, was looking out of a window when its apparent altitude was great-that fronts the north-welt, and faw a est; as he seems to have observed this great light in the horizon, seemingly phenomenon with attention, and to be over Cavenhamn, a village on the bor very capable of deferibing what he ders of the fens, and which, as I find faw. I think it must have passed very by Kirby's map of Suffolk, bears about near his zenith, if not to the N. E. N. W. by N. or perhaps a little more of him by the other observations; and westerly of the White-Horse inn. It if so, this observation, when compared kept proceeding Nowly on towards with that at York, would determine · Mr. Amyss' house; and when it was its track over this part of the island within about a quarter of a mile of it with great precision.
shed innumerable stars, each of which A very ingenious gentleman, who appeared to have a tail. It passed di. lives about two miles west of Peterbo- . rectly over the house; and, as the obrough, faw this meteor. He says it ferrer thought, but juit clear of the certainly passed to the eastward of his chimneys. He ran to a back window, zenith, though he did not see it until and saw it keep on its course towards it had passed that point. Its motion Great Saxham, the feat of Hatchinwas towards the S. E. or perhaps a
perhaps a fon Muir, Efq. and soon loft fight of little more southerly. He faw it about it beyond the trees and rising grounds thirteen or fourteen seconds, andthenioit which consine his horizon that way. light of it, by its going behind a cloud. About a minute after he loft fight of 'Ilie diameter of it appeared to him to the meteor, he heard a loud noile, as be about that of the moon, when a if something very heavy had fallen goed height above the horizon. This down in a room over his head. He gentleman heard a rumbling noise then looked at his watch, and found The little time after the meteor had it wanted 20 minutes to 10 o'clock. difappeared, between the S. and E. . He judged that he saw the meteor for
three minutes; but in this he might be easily deceived, and I beliere he was. He says the light was of a bluish cakt, and that the length of the meteor was about three rods; which is 16 or 17
The meteor was likewise feen at Bury, and the explosion heard, fo loud that
many persons were confident it was attended with an earthquake; as the glasj fhook in several of the windows. Bury is a good deal exposed to the south east; and any confiderable concussion of the air in that quarter might produce the effects which they attribute to an earthquake; and imagination might encrcale it.
At Colcheter, in Eilex, it was first feen in the N. W. quarter, juit above the horizon, through a small opening in a cloud; after which it disappeared for an instant, being hid behind an opaque part of the fame cloud. ] directed its courfe right across the visible hemisphere, pailing in a small degree to the castward of the zenith of that place, and set in the point of the horizon, which is nearly oj polite that where it was firit feen. My people, indeed, thought they saw it burti fall down extinet; but the greater part allow that the body proceeded forward, after the explofion, and some will have it that it fell into the sea near Meríı y Illand.
Different obferrers, about Colcher ter, varied greatly in their conceptions of the apparent magnitude of this phenomenon, fome thinking it to be several feet in diameter, and citers not above four or five inches. Some also did they heard a biling noite, like that of a rocket, as it pailed along, whilst others heard no fuchshing; but all agree that a rumbling noise, line that of Cilant thunder, was heard a few minutes after it disappeared.
From this observation, as well as those which were made near Petcrhu. rough, it eviuently appears that those periors were much mistaken who thought it near thein; for it is plain, from ilicfe berrations, that the me.. teor nuit have been higher than the clouds, from its being frequently hid.en by them. Morcover, a person at
Portsmouth saw the meteor pass behind which was five miles from Bury on the the clouds; and fall, as he thought, New market road. into the sea near Spithead.
This line paid about 18 mniles to The meteor was also seen by fome the tastward of Peterborough, and fire persons on the N. E. coast of Ireland, to the west of Lincoln; directly over as I gather from a paragraph in one Doncaster; and, of course, about ten of the papers, which runs thus: “ The miles east of Bainiley, which is on the meteor of the 18th of Augnít was seen road from Wakefield to Sheffield. It by a spectator who was travelling near leaves York about 20 miles to the eartDromore, in the county of Down, on ward of it, and Leeds about four or the road from Lurgan. He did not five miles to the west. Proceeding on see it at its first appearance, being in a north-westward, it lcares Appleby low valley, with a hill and grove be about five miles to the west, goes almost hind him; but he faw it soon after, directly over Carline, and enters Scormoving swiftly, in a direction from land precisely at the bottom of Solsay N. towards the cast, and lost fight of Frith; paslcs nearly over Dumbarton it in the thick atinosphere, near the and Inverary; and quits the island at horizon. It seems to have been very the point of Ardnamarchan. low here, because the observer says, 'I trace this line fouth-eastward from the saw it ditinctly through the trees, as coatt of Elex, we hall find that after it advanced towards the eatt." It crosling the inouch of the Thanes, it feemed fo near, and appeared fo bright, juft touches the point of the North that the carmen on the road were Foreland, and enters France a little to afraid of its setting fire to their carts. the eait of Calais. The nucleus is described to be of a
From this account it will appear that muft radiant blue flame, followed by this meteor never came nearer to the a train of yellowish light.
observer between Droinore and Lurgan I have also an extract of a letter from in Ireland, than about 115 geographical a gentleman, a lieutenant of one of his miles; at which time it was nearly over Majesty's fhips of war, which was then Lanerk in Scotland. Now, fuppofing cruizing off the north of Ireland, who this, and also that the meteor was 150 relates that he saw the fame meteor bigh, when highet at Dronore; and moving along the north-east quarter, it could not well be less for a person nearly parallel to the horizon, and at to see it who was in a deep valley, the no great height above it; but he adds perpendicular height of the meteor muft fomething fingular enough, namely, have been about 38 statute miles. that a little time afterwards he saw it Again, it was observed by some genmoving back again, the contrary way tlemen from the terrace at Windsor to that which it came.
Caitle, among whom were the two These are all the observations that Meff. Sandbys, who have fince pubhave come to my knowledge, and can lished a most beautiful engraving of it, be of any use in determining as it appeared to them at that place. Height and track of this fingular phe-Thefe gentlemen informed us that they nonenon. I dhall, therefore, proceed firit saiv it coming from behind a cloud to determine these two points with all which bore N. W. by N. that jis the accuracy the observations will ad- greatest altitude was 25°, and that it mit of; and it maît be allowed that disappeared at E. by S.
It was, when they correfpond better than such ob. they tirit faw it, a perfect sphere, withfervations could have been expefied out any tail; but as it came more
abreart of the spectators, it began to in order to do this, I drew a line on fhew one, which grew longer for some Rowles's large map of Fngland, as time, and continued until it disapnear the island of Merley as possible, peared. for it to pass to the eastward of the Windsor is about 65 geographical zenith of Colliciter, and over a point niles from the nearest part of the track of
the metcor, in the direction of N. E. to shew, in some measure, how this
Hence the meteor, at the time may happen, as follows: “ The unwhen it was highest at Windsor, must usual and continued heats of the last have been nearly over Sudbury, in Suf- fummer (says he) in these parts of the folk; and its perpendicular height, world may be supposed to have exabove that place, about 36 statute miles. cited an extraordinary quantity of va
Several other obfervations of this pour of all forts;, of which the aqueous, meteor have come to my hands, but and most others, being soon condensed they are so inconsistent with these by cold, and wanting a certain degree already related, as well as with one of specific gravity in the air to buoy another, that I forbear to mention them up, afcend but to a sinall height, them; and the rather, as they exhibit and, therefore, are quickly returned in no circumstances that tend to ascer- ' rain, dews, &c. whereas the infiamtaining the height or direction of this mable sulphureous vapours, by an inmolt curious and beautiful phenome- nate levity, have a fort of vis centrinon. I thall, therefore, proceed to lay fuga, and not only have no need of the before my readers the opinions that air to support them, but being agitated have been entertained by the most ju- by heat, will afcend in the receiver of dicicus philofophers concerning ap an air-pump, and sublime to the top pearances of this kind.
of it, when most other fumes fall inIn the 34.1 ft number of the Philoso- ftantly down, and lie like water at phical Transactions for October, No. the bottom.
From hence we may vember, and December, -1714, Dr. comprehend how the matter of the Halley, after relating the circumstances meteor might have been raised from a which had been observed to attend fe- large track of the earth's surface, and veral of these meteors in various parts afcend far above the reputed límits of of the world, but particularly that the atmosphere; where, being disenmentioned (p. 449) from Montanari, gaged from all other particles (by a seems to think they must be some col principle in nature that congregates all lection of inatter, formed in the ether homogeneous particles, and which is by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, visible in so many instances) its atoms which the earth meets with in its an- might, in length of time, coalefce and nual circuit through the ecliptic; and run together, as we see falts shoot in that the great variety of motions which water; and gradually contracting themthey are found. to have arise from felves into a narrower compass, might different combinations of the velocity lie, like a train of gun-powder in the they may have acquired towards the ether, till catching fire by some interfun at the time when the earth falls in nal ferment, as we find the damps in with them, the attraction of the earth's mines frequently do, the flame would gravitation, and the resistance they be communicated to its continued parts, meet with, on approaching our at and run on like a train when fired. mosphere.
This will explain how this meteor came This laypothesis, like all those which to move with such an inconceivable have been formed by this most excel- velocity; for if a continued train of lent, philofopher, is exceedingly in- powder were no thicker than a barrel, genious; and I know of no folid ob- it is not eafy to say how fast the fire jections that can be brought against it, would fly along it; much less can we could we but learn how these atoms, imagine the rapidity of it along these tius fupposed to be congregated in the more infiammable vapours, lying in a ether, come into, or are generated in train of fo vast a thickness
. Suppofing it. It is true, indeed, foine years af. this to be the case, it was not a globe terward, giving an account of that of fire that ran along, but a succeilive very remarkable meteor which was kindling of new matrer: and as fome seen almost all over England, as well parts of the earth inight emit those as the neighbouring kingdoms, on vapocrs in greater plenty than others, the 19th of March 1719, he atteinpes this train mulitin foine parts of it