[meteorite-list] Rochester Meteorite: 2-15-1877 NPA Elyria, Ohio
From: MARK BOSTICK <thebigcollector_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun Feb 19 10:00:16 2006
Paper: The Constitution
City: Elyria, Ohio
Date: Thursday, February 15, 1877
Page: 2 (of 4)
The Great Meteor.
BY PROFESSOR H. N. NEWTON.
Meteor of Dec. 21st, 1876. - On the evening of Thursday, Dec. 21st,
1876, a meteor of unusual size and brilliancy passed over the States of
Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In many respects it is worthy
of special record. From newspaper notices that we have been able to
collect, from a few private letters, and from some letters kindly sent us by
Professor Henry, from the Smithsonian Institution, we are able to give a
general account of the body.
It was seen, so far as we know, over the State of Kansas, and probably
as far was as the center of the State. It passed nearly over and probably
south of the cities of Topeka and Levenworth, being there at an altitude of
about sixty miles. It crossed the Mississippi between Hannibal and Keokut,
but nearer to the former place. Over the center of the state of Missouri
one or more explosions occurred, and shortly after crossing the Mississippi
it broke into several fragments. The breaking up continued while it was
crossing over the State of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. A loud explosion is
reported as far east as Concord and Erie, Pennsylvania. The meteor
consisted in fact of a large flock of brilliant balls chasing each other
across the sky, the number being variously estimated from a score to a
hundred. This flight is of peculiar interest in view of the long continued
The region around Chicago was overcast, and though the clouds were
lighted up in a most remarkable manner, no sound seems to have been heard.
In like manner no sound is reported from St. Louis. But over all the region
of Central Illinois between these two cities a terrific series of explosions
were heard. In Keokuk, Iowa, it was heard, but not elsewhere in that State
so far as it appears from these accounts. A rumbling is reported as far
south of the track as Bloomington, Indiana, 120 miles distant, but whether
it was caused by the meteor is doubtful. Yet, over the northern part of
Indiana the passage of the body was followed by loud explosions.
Whether a portion of the body pursued its way onward over New York
State and out of the atmosphere is from the statements before us doubtful.
The path was nearly parallel to the earth's surface and might easily be in
its latter part upward. But if the sky was then clear over Western New York
the meteor would in such case certainly have been seen in that region.
The path was about N. seventy five degrees E. and was nearly or quite a
straight line, and not less than 1,000 miles long. The duration of flight
was of course variously estimated, from fifteen seconds to three minutes,
and yet no one probably saw the body more than a fraction of its path.
It entered the air in a course differing only about thirty degrees from
the earth's motion, and was overtaking the earth. Its real motion therefore
made a still smaller angle with that of the earth. But the relative
velocity was so slow, probably not over ten or fifteen miles a second, that
the earth's attraction had changed it direction greatly. It must have been
coming previous to that change, from a point near to and a little south of
the ecliptic in the eastern or southern part of the constellation
Capricornius. There appears to be no known meteor-radiant at that part of
Should no one else undertake the complete discussion of this meteor, we
may treat it more fully in a future number of the Journal. We shall be
grateful for any accounts of observers - especially of those who made
angular measurements - whether we shall use them ourselves or place them in
the hands of others for reduction. - Silliman's Journal.
PDF copy of this article, and most of those on my website, are available
upon e-mail request.
The NPA in the subject line, stands for Newspaper Article. The old list
server allowed us a search feature the current does not, so I guess this is
more for quick reference and shortening the subject line now.
Received on Sun 19 Feb 2006 10:00:13 AM PST