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Cigar in the Sky

 

[Excerpted from Strangely Enough by C. B. Colby]

 

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    On November 17, 1882, the strange object illustrated here was seen by E. W. Maunder, a famous astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England. It was observed not only by Maunder, but by several of his expert colleagues at the observatory. This remember, was long before "flying saucers" were even thought of, before radar or other electronic detection devices were even dreamed of.

    The fantastic shape was spotted quite suddenly as though it had appeared out of nowhere. It moved steadily across the sky while the Royal Observatory experts watched it through a large telescope. Maunder and his associates had time to compare notes, jot down their impressions, and later check them against each other’s. They all had seen the same thing.

    Although, the descriptions varied in wording, they were all basically alike. Whether the shape was described as a "cigar," "torpedo," "spindle," or "shuttle," each observer saw the same silhouette. Had it happened 50 years later, the word used might have been "zeppelin," but such airships were unknown in 1882.

    All the witnesses agreed that what they saw was "too fast for a cloud and too slow for a meteor," and that it appeared to be a "definite body with a dark nucleus." It was "extraordinary and alarming."

    Perhaps someday we’ll know all about these mysterious "UFOs" which every so often are either spotted by eye or observed wandering silently across a radar screen.

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