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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Brilliant Meteor (S140a: 1868)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: This letter to the Editor appeared on page 3 of the 3 January 1868 issue of The Daily Telegraph. Note Wallace's effort to determine the trajectory of the meteor! To link directly with this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S140A.htm

To the Editor of "The Daily Telegraph."

     Sir--You will doubtless receive many accounts of the appearance of this meteor, which was seen here about half-past seven o'clock this morning; and I should not trouble you, but that I am fortunately able to determine its position at the moment of disappearance with tolerable accuracy, which, in combination with other observations, will be an important datum in determining its dimensions and altitude. It was seen here, passing from east to west nearly horizontally, and when it burst was 10 deg. above the horizon at a point 15 deg. east of south. Although I did not see it myself, I believe this position does not err more than one degree. It was seen by a friend with whom I am staying as he lay in bed, and as he kindly pointed out to me the exact position it appeared to occupy on the window when it burst, and the position of his own head at the time, I was able to fix both its bearing and altitude. There is a conspicuous hill (Wolsonbury) just opposite the window which enabled me to determine the former from the Ordnance map; the latter I obtained by a simple trigonometrical observation. My friend compared it to the star of a Roman candle, and when it had burst it left two patches of vapour, which floated away eastward (contrary to the motion of the meteor), forming a single horizontal streak of smoke, which persisted more than half-an-hour. The observation was made at the western extremity of the village.--Yours, &c.,

Alfred R. Wallace, F.R.G.S., &c.,
Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, Jan. 1.

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