Monday, December 28, 2015

"Extraordinary phenomenon" - Alpha, Queensland - 17 September 1900

Hi readers,

There are numerous keywords which you can use to search the National Library of Australia's TROVE digitised newspaper collection. Another set I have used was "extraordinary phenomenon." One of the article which these words turned up was about "a travelling star."

"Extraordinary Phenomenon
To the Editor.

Sir - We witnessed this morning at about nine o'clock what to us seemed an extraordinary phenomenon. A travelling star rose from the south and travelled right across the sky to the north-west horizon in about ten minutes.

When first seen it was some distance up, and looked more like a white bird than a star. It appeared to oscillate for two or three seconds, and then sailed steadily across the sky till lost sight of in the distance. I should be pleased if you could inform me if this is an usual or unusual occurrence. Thanking you in anticipation.

E Donaldson.
Alpha, September 17th 1900."

Source: "The Western Champion & General Advertiser for the Central Western Districts." [Barcaldine, Qld: 1892-1922] Tuesday 2 October 1900 p12.


1. Alpha, Queensland is at latitude 23 deg 36 mins south and longitude 146 deg36 mins east.

2. The sun was at elevation 37 deg, azimuth 24 deg north of east.

3. Weather. At nearby Barcaldine at 9am on 17 September 1900, the maximum temperature was 87 deg F, the minimum was 55 deg F; and the wind was from the south-east.

4. I did a TROVE search for an E. Donaldson but found nothing.

5. What was the object? Note that the wind was probably from the south-east, and the object travelled south to north-west, indicative of the fact that it may have been a wind borne object of some kind. Have readers any suggestions?

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