February 2, 2017

November 1866: An extraordinary event took place in the sky

The spectacular shower of meteors in the early hours of the morning of 14 November 1866 was observed all over Europe. It was an extraordinary event exciting comment from professional astronomers and laymen alike. The following sample account is from The Times Saturday, 17 November 1866:

The Rev. Robert Main, the Radcliffe Observer at Oxford, gives the following account of the meteorological phenomenon of Tuesday night last:  --

'...This great display began about 13h. (or 1 o'clock in the morning), and reached its maximum at about 13h.24m., after which time it gradually began to slacken. The watch, however, was kept up till 18h., though after 15h., there were not many meteors seen. In all there were observed not fewer than 3,000 during the night, of which about 2,000 fell between 13h. and 14h., or between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. As to the general appearance of the meteors, it was noticed that the majority of them were of a whitish or yellowish colour. Some, however, were reddish or orange-coloured, and one meteor was noticed to be bluish. The brightest left generally a train behind them, which was to be seen for a few seconds after the meteor disappeared.' 
(Adapted from ‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah', by Adib Taherzadeh, vol. 2)