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Atmospheric Phenomenon.

(From the London L'imes.) Our Geneva correspondent writes, under date August 22;—“On the evening of August 5, six persons who were standing in the gallery of a chalet in the Jura, above St Cergues, witnessed an atmospheric phenomenon equally rare and ciiviona. The aspect of the sky was dark and stormy. The air was thick with clouds, out of which darted at interva s bright flashes of lightning. At length one of these clouds, seeming to break loose from the mountains between Nyon and the Dole, advanced in the direction of a storm which had, meanwhile, broken out over Moges. The sun was hidden and the country covered with thick darkness. At this moment the pine forest round St Cergues was suddenly illuminated and shone with a light hearing a striking resemblance to the phosphorescence of the sea as seen in the tropics. The light disappeared with every clap of thunder, but only to apj car again with increased intensity until the subsidence of the tempest. M. Raoul Pictet, the eminent chemist, who was one of the witnesses of the phenomenon, thus explains it in the last number of the ‘Archives des Sciences Physiques rt Naturolles ’: —‘ Before the appearance of this fro of St. Elmo, which covered the

whole of (lie forest, it had rained several minutes during the first part of the stonr. The rain had converted the trees into conductors of electricity. Then, when the cloud, strongly charged with the electric lim’d, passed over this multitude of points, the discharges were sufficiently vivid to give rise t >fh • luminous appearance. The effect was produce 1 by the action of the electricity of the atmosphere on the electricity of tlm oar.h, an effect which, on the occasion in question, was considerably increased by the height of the locality, the proximity of a storm-cloud, and the action of the rain, which turned all the trees of of the forest into conductors.’ ”

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Bibliographic details

Atmospheric Phenomenon., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 15, 30 October 1879

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Atmospheric Phenomenon. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 15, 30 October 1879