In her account of the infamous David Irving libel trial, History on Trial, successful defendant and respected historian Deborah Lipstadt determines the responsibility of the historian to determine the truth from what she terms “the confluence of evidence “. It is not for the historian to follow some tributaries to the exclusion of others, as her own victory over a proven Holocaust Denier effectively demonstrates, but to instead determine the nexus point at which all tributaries converge. Following only a selection, as Irving did over Hitler, usually leads to one being stuck up a certain creek without a certain paddle.
In similar vein my old professor, Arthur Marwick, used to regularly instruct we eager students that “ It is not the job of the historian to act as either prosecution or defence — he (or she) has a much higher responsibility to act as an impartial judge.” This caused a few creased foreheads in tutorials but he was quite clear on the matter — a historian must give due weight to what Arthur called “ the primary evidence of the historic record, making sure you don’t ignore anything simply because it doesn’t suit your thesis because “ — and here he would wag his finger in stern warning — “ because make no mistake, someone else will find you out !”. Since Arthur looked remarkably like a drunken Sir Lancelot Spratt, at the best of times an alarming spectacle, this warning burned itself into all our memories.
Dr Paul Lee has filled Marwick’s demand with marvelous efficiency in his new book, The Indifferent Stranger. Every piece of evidence pertinent to what we all know as “The Californian Incident” is presented in full — no selections of various parts of the trial transcripts and later affidavits too often used, as Paul goes on to demonstrate, as a common tactic on both sides of the debate. Though this does lead to lengthy excerpts from newspapers and Inquiry records Paul should feel no need to apologise for doing so - though being a polite man, he does - for it both gathers this material handily together in one place, and provides a holistic view of all the evidence for the attentive reader. This book may not — no, almost certainly will not - end the debate, but it should certainly make all the participants far better informed. That is undoubtedly to the benefit of all.
Thus by simply reading the primary evidence one is struck by the fact that however much in later years Lord and his defenders might have sought to remove him from the story of the Titanic disaster, it was Lord who put himself there in the first place. On April 19th 1912 the Leyland Line sent a message to Lord that when it came to the press “ …you may permit them aboard your steamer unless in your judgment this is undesirable.”. Clearly Lord did think it desirable since the next day he held a press conference aboard his vessel where he waxed lyrical, claiming on that his vessel was “ 30 miles north of the scene of the frightful disaster “, that in getting to the scene “ For full three hours we turned, twisted, doubled on our course…through the winding channels of ice” and that “ Running close to the Carpathia, the cries and wailings of the women and children could be heard in spite of the fact that they had been taken to the cabins and staterooms.” This hyperbole was the little stone dropped too loudly that grew into an avalanche that rolls on today.
For clearly, once he felt he had safely established to the American press his claim that he wasn’t there at actual sinking, Lord was not above romanticizing his role by waxing lyrical about his experiences — the man who would have been a hero if he had been that little bit closer. Yet perhaps as early as this, a few felt they were in the company of a man who had a flexible approach to the facts, as The Boston Evening Transcript noted both the withholding of the exact position of the Californian and the silence of Cyril Evans in terms that make it clear they were unimpressed with either. Such gives one food for thought — Lord in the early days comes over as affable, willing to inform the Americans of the professionalism of his ship and himself, and undismayed by the claims of the unsatisfactory Ernest Gill. Hubris inevitably leads to Nemesis, however — and Nemesis was waiting in the Mersey inquiry.
Before we get there Paul demonstrates his willingness to consider all available evidence by dwelling for several pages on the Mount Temple and the statements of Dr Quitzrau and Captain Moore. Since Paul has elected to follow the story by a strict adherence to the timetable of events as they occurred, this is the proper place in which to deal with that and he shows the same discernment in presenting and analyzing the evidence as he has in regard to the Californian, ultimately bringing this particular canard down. This pattern is followed throughout the book — alternative candidates for mystery ships are discussed as and when they were first tugged into view by particular authors, and yet we never feel distracted from the overall course of the narrative. It is the sign of a writer in full command of his material.
And so, to London. Paul takes 110 pages to deal with the entire Mersey Inquiry, and along the way provides us with a hoard of treasures.
Finally we have a photograph of the Californian’s officers ( illus 15 - p 65 ) — I’ve never seen it before anyway — and what a picture of British professionals before The Great War they are. Stewart and Stone glare at one another like a seagoing Thompson and Thomson, Groves looks pained and embarrassed while Gibson ? Well, Gibson stares off into the distance, pop-eyed, looking like this is all jolly larks and resembling no-one so much as Private Pike. Evans, on the other hand, looks and stands like George Raft, ready to carve someone up. Wouldn’t you just love to know what they are saying to one another? From the looks of it something more substantial than “ Where shall we have lunch, then ?” — a fascinating glimpse of frozen time. It is also striking that, from the first appendix, three of them had less than sparkling careers at sea — see if you can guess which three it was…or buy the book.
There are the full reproductions of the evidence, free from the cut’n’paste approach of other commentators down the years. We can follow Gibson’s attempt to be helpful whilst trying to avoid implicating his superiors too much, Lord’s double-speak in avoiding giving direct answers to direct questions, Groves’s incredible contradiction of his captain, Stewart’s obtuseness and, for me the most painful, the gradual disintegration of Herbert Stone as he perhaps realizes even as he testifies that his story makes no sense.
But I’m giving opinion — something that Paul scrupulously does not do as he works his way through the mass of material. He does point out the testimony that makes no sense, and all of them seem to have failed at some point or other, but there is no speculation in this part of the work as to why someone said something, who is truthful, who is lying and who is merely confused. Paul very properly keeps that for his later analysis, in this part the evidence is presented with no authorial voice interpreting for the reader, who is trusted with possessing enough intelligence to work things out to their own satisfaction. It makes for a refreshing change.
Interestingly we are treated to a full record of Dunlop’s attempt to excuse the Californian and her men — often accounts of the Inquiry and both accusers and defenders of Lord pay insufficient attention to this part of the trial, for it represents the best attempt to defend Lord made in a British court of law. Dunlop anticipates — or provides the prototypes — for many of the arguments that have subsequently been advanced as apologia for Lord and his men, and Paul rightly deals with it at great length, again pointing out the errors of fact and outrages against common sense and nautical practice without excessive interpolation, but also the places where there is a reasonable case being made. It is, in many ways, the most useful part of the trial reportage since it reveals that on Dunlop, whether he wanted the distinction or not, we must bestow the title of “ First ever Lordite”. As Paul says, “It was all a brave and valiant spectacle”.
Paul then submerges back into the dank depths of the Mount Temple question. Any student of history, or of crime, knows that after the official Inquiries a herd of “uncalled witnesses “ emerge from whatever cave on Mars they were hiding in with their fingers in their ears whilst the investigation was on-going. All have testimony that “ should have been heard “ and that “ calls into question the official version of events “. Usually there are suggestions of conspiracies and of outraged professionals who claim that they have a story that would explode it. The Warren Commission, the 9/11 Commission, the investigations into the deaths of Di and Dodi — there are always people who suddenly remember something they completely forgot to mention at the time. So it was with the Mount Temple v Californian debate the exercise Lord for the years after 1912 — and at length we are treated to an account of the entire “ mystery-ship-with-a-yellow-funnel” affair followed by the Foweraker debates. Truly, the writer wants to give everyone a through hearing, and he gives an interesting, at times even bitter-sweet, account of Lord’s later life to end this part of the narrative.
Before I move on, though, I must, as Paul does himself right up-front, pay homage to the large number of fellow researchers who have assisted him over the years. I dare not list them because I would leave many out and since no small number of them are big names on this site — and might exact the proper tribute from my hide - I’ll simply make known my own appreciation of the illustrations, theories, analysis and critiques that inform much of the work. Thanks to them, so much is made clear that hitherto was obscured. Congratulations all.
If Paul had left it there, with his own analysis of the evidence and presentation of his conclusions, then he would have done enough to place his work in the forefront of books on the Titanic disaster and “ The Incident “ in particular. I think I’ll leave it to you to find out what Paul’s conclusions are — no reviewer should ever give away the mystery’s solution and besides, I have to leave you a reason to buy it, otherwise the writer will never get his true reward. Suffice to say, the investment of Paul’s time and your money would have been well spent if that was where matters rested and I would have recommended purchase on that basis alone.
But there is much, much more of value. In the second half of the book, the fun really begins…for enter, on pg 168, Walter Lord. And it is no exaggeration to suggest that if it had not been for he, we would not be here on this forum, 53 years on from him first writing his seminal book — because the book sold in large enough numbers to encourage the film of A Night to Remember. Said film was then reviewed the Sunday after its release in various newspapers and Stanley Lord, quite possibly assumed to be dead by the various writers of book and film but still very much alive, went to call on Leslie Harrison.
Just as one is surprised the extent to which Lord attempted to insert himself INTO the Titanic story in April 1912 one is also — impressed is really not the word — struck, perhaps, by the even greater extent that Harrison went to in order to remove his hero from the whole sequence of events over the next few decades. It is a fascinating, at times infuriating and on occasion plain outrageous story of one man’s drive to defend a man he hardly knew. Harrison is demonstrated, by his own words and writings as presented by Paul at full length, to be a defense advocate rather than a historian. Yet since he never claimed to be the latter that is no reason to damn him — quite the reverse, in fact, for he was very good at it, and defending seamen was the job he was being paid for in 1958. Obviously, a defense advocate attempts to put the best shine on his client’s actions, leaving to the prosecution the task of bringing to the court’s attention those matters which are contrary to that intention.
The problem was, and remained for some years to come, that Walter Lord, upon whom Harrison appears to have put the onus of prosecution advocate, had not set out to demonstrate Lord’s guilt in any way — Walter Lord was a chronicler. As a result, and given that before A Night to Remember the whole matter had languished in obscurity for over four decades, it gave Harrison the advantage — he was presenting a defense case in the absence of any clear statement of the prosecution case. It was a clever maneuver — and time would show that Harrison was a very clever operator indeed. More than anyone else, Harrison deserves the credit for re-opening, and keeping open, the whole matter, and for fighting his corner.
In other matters, however, he was less scrupulous and perhaps less admirable. One immediate error of omission by Harrison which the author rightly deplores is his failure to track down Herbert Stone before his death, for there would have been much to learn from the man. There are other instances of Harrison pressing subtly on various ex-Titanic officers to wither provide supportive information or, where not, to at least abstain from comment. It is obvious that Harrison felt driven to defend Lord to the full extent of his abilities — but the mystery that truly intrigues me, and which wisely Paul does not attempt to answer, is why ? What was it about Lord’s case that drove Harrison — and later Lordites such as Padfield — to defend a man they never knew ? A sense of outraged justice ? A conviction that he was a scape-goat for a wicked establishment ? We can read, and speculate, but it would be interesting to know what psychological drives both Lordites and Anti-Lordites have. Perhaps some can tell us.
To return from the land of speculation - particularly disappointing to discover is the means by which Harrison successfully prevented the publication of Leslie Reade’s alternative hypothesis by first approving and then withdrawing his permission for the latter to use excerpts from his own works — a tactic he attempted to repeat with Walter Lord a decade later. Lord, by then aware of the trap from Reade’s experience, avoided it — but it is a let-down to discover that a man seemingly so intent of revealing that most fragile of concepts, the “truth” should be so vandalizing of others attempts and worse to discover that he was given to crowing about it. It is fair enough for a defense advocate to hold avoid raising matters that do not help the client in court, that is the job of the prosecution after all, but to actively prevent the other side from presenting its own case is unprofessional.
But Paul is also open about the excesses of the anti-Lordites as well. Leslie Reade is revealed as a man whose passions sometimes got the better of his pen, and Geoffrey Jules Marcus is shown to have conducted little, if any, proper research and occasionally making “staggering errors “ ( p213) whilst his most extravagant claims, such as Lord’s command style, go un-sourced. This, again, makes a significant and impressive change from the usual approach by either lobby in the debate — an even handed willingness to expose both the truths and calumnies on both sides, far increasing the value of the book as a whole.
Thus he shows that Reade discounted the evidence that Titanic had resumed steaming after the collision, simply because Harrison believed that she had — and the weight of evidence, as has been demonstrated on this very site, supports the latter. Reade, of course, was presenting the case for the prosecution, and Paul demonstrates that he too was not above suppressing evidence that undermined his case against Lord and sometimes resorted to presenting “ one more “fact” used to discredit Captain Lord [which] amounts to no more than a grasping attempt to belittle the Californian”.
Yet even after Reade/ De Groot’s book had finally managed to see print, Harrison remained an implacable opponent and launched a case for libel against the publishers, Haynes. The ultimate agreement was to provide amendments to later editions of the book should it be reprinted — which it has never been — and the book has since fallen out of print. Next time you find a copy on e-Bay exchanging hands for money you cannot afford, remember you have Leslie Harrison to thank. Paul mentions his last product, Captain Lord’s Plight to Remember and gives it a review, again exposing its short-comings, but I suspect the image this work will leave us with is of the old man, court statement of apology in hand, bullying a junior member of staff in Heswall Public Library to remove from the shelves their sole copy of The Ship That Stood Still.
There is one other author’s work that is considered in depth. You can guess who it is. However I don’t want elephants thrown at me across the dining room, so you can just buy the book yourself if you want to find out what’s said. Again, I want to preserve the mystery.
So, what do we have at the end of the day ?
We have the lake that results from Lipstadt’s confluence of evidence, and an exploration as far as possible up the tributaries that flow into it. It certainly won’t be the last word - the past decades, and Paul’s work, have proven that the two sides will argue on about the smallest details and most unlikely of alternatives without always giving due consideration to either fact or common sense. But it does provide a solid basis for the next word for it is all here in one handy place now — the court transcripts, the affidavits, the suppressed and the publicly circulated. It is, in so far as anything can be, definitive — until such time as anything new turns up, this is everything we have. Unlike many, Paul has commendably left nothing out as far as I can tell. Henceforth this work can serve as the starting point for all debate, the well from which commentators will draw.
It is, above all, well presented, well written and page turning — it deserves to be published properly, and hopefully one day will be, since adobe documents don’t look as nice as a chunky hardback sitting on the shelf. But buy it now, and get engrossed — you won’t be sorry.
And yes — Paul does, like all proper historians should, deliver his own verdict on what the strange ships were, and who could see what, when and where.
One of the rules of etiquette is that a guest to your home does not speak of religion or politics. Likewise, at some gatherings of Titanic historians, it is best not to speak of one of the most contentious topics relating to the tragedy — that of the guilt or innocence of Captain Stanley Lord and his ship, the Leyland liner Californian.
Hundreds of thousands of words have been written about this controversy, and frankly, most books and articles are heavily slanted either pro or con, often with information excluded from or reworded from the historic narrative to support the position of whatever side the author finds himself on. Thus, it is troubling to see in one narrative how Leslie Harrison left out mention of rockets fired by the Carpathia at 3:15 a.m. and seen by the Californian at the same time since this sighting doesn’t support his point of view. Equally perturbing is the way that Leslie Reade omitted part of Fifth Officer Lowe’s testimony concerning lights on the mystery ship that seemed to indicate to Lowe that the ship was steaming away.
The basic facts — that the officers and some of the crew of the Californian saw rockets being fired to the south and that numerous passengers and crew of the Titanic saw the lights of a ship to the north are without doubt. But from this point on, there are widely divergent viewpoints of what happened and what was seen, and since 1912, writers on both sides of the question have attempted to sway the undecided to their respective view.
There is a wealth of information available in the form of testimony given to both the American and British inquires as well as letters, logbooks, wireless records, interviews and memoirs. A careful shifting of all available evidence, omitting none, is what has been needed since the first accusations were hurled at Captain Lord.
"The Indifferent Stranger" is a newly published eBook by Dr. Paul Lee, a frequent contributor to The Commutator. His look at this controversial subject is thorough, exhaustive and seemingly complete. Far from cherry picking evidence to support his conclusions, Dr. Lee has instead presented entire passages of testimony in order for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. This approach can make certain sections of the book drag just a bit; however, this approach ensures all relevant information is provided.
With the purchase of this eBook, the purchaser sent a PDF to open and read on his or her computer, or can instead order a copy on a CD. It can then also be loaded onto a PDA or, as I did, print out a copy onto 8 Â½” x 11” paper and put into a three-ring binder.
The entire story of the Californian incident is retold in a chronological manner. Using testimony and related material drawn from the two main inquiries, the book delves into the beginnings of the controversy surrounding the indifferent stranger that was supposedly seen by both the Titanic and Californian. When it is established by the writer that in spite of Captain Lord’s protestations, his ship was indeed the mystery ship that sat at rest a short distance away, Dr. Lee is very careful to present both sides of every argument — even if the information used runs counter to the Lee’s eventual conclusions.
The author spends much time going through not only inquiry notes, but contemporary newspaper accounts, letters and reported conversations as well. Step by step, and with great detail, each puzzle piece is carefully examined, both sides of the issue looked at and discussed, and that issue objectively examined, helping the reader decide what did happen the night of April 14-15.
Sorting through the maze of conflicting stories takes patience, time and much effort. Numerous portions of the 1912 inquiries are presented in full. Although reading these excerpts can be tedious, no one can accuse Dr. Lee of leaving out items which do not fit the case he presents throughout the book. The reader is exhorted to read through all of the transcripts “…for contained within is not only verification of the extracts presented in this book, but also priceless snippets of information…”
Numerous charts and illustrations help the reader understand what was seen, and from what height above the water ship’s lights and the glare of socket signals could be seen. For instance, on pages 314-316 is a series of original illustrations showing what the lights of the Californian must have looked like to Fourth Officer Boxhall. These lights would have shifted throughout the night in the current and displayed what first looked like two masthead lights and a green light changing to what later appeared to be just a single masthead light as the Titanic sank deeper into the water. Touches such as these add great detail to the book.
Some of the conclusions in Dr. Lee’s eBook will upset people — but he has taken great care to clearly show from the actual and unedited words of the principals exactly what must have happened.
Although there are a few small formatting issues with the eBook, and while I personally dislike the use of Stanley Morrison’s Times New Roman as the type face employed throughout, it is the text of the book and the accompanying illustrations that make this book well worth the purchase. The lack of an index is not a concern since the electronic version of the book is easily searched, as the author intended.
"The Indifferent Stranger" is not available through bookstores but may be ordered from Paul Lee at http://www.paullee.com:80/book_details.php The book will not be the final word on this contentious subject, but barring new discoveries, it may well stand as the definitive argument for one side of the Californian question.
Looks like I'm going to have to put my order in for this sometime soon then and it'll have to be the CD. I've had enough crashes over the years so that loading it on to my machine without backup is risky.
" Although there are a few small formatting issues with the eBook, and while I personally dislike the use of Stanley Morrison’s Times New Roman as the type face employed throughout, it is the text of the book and the accompanying illustrations that make this book well worth the purchase. "
Though pleasingly it means you can read it at your work and when the boss walks by he thinks you're keeping up on Surveying Legislation topics...
...if you were bad, and unproductive and not like me at all, oh no...
From those that have read Paul's book, and to which I’ve talked - everyone has been impressed with the detail of research. Having known Paul through the messages boards over the years, it comes as no surprise the high praise that readers have expressed. Having often visited his website and seen his other work, I would have not expected anything less then excellent work from this gentleman.
I believe it great to seen works like this, those of Dave Gittins and many others that have taken so much time to work through certain aspects of the TITANIC story. You have to have a want and a passion to spend so much time doing the research. Let’s face it; if you write a TITANIC book to make money, you’re in the wrong game.
As the one hundred year anniversary sneaks up on this, we now know so much more about the ship, her history and story. We are now closer than ever to gaining a fuller understanding of the ship and all the mysteries that surround her.
I just finished Paul's book last week, and enjoyed it quite a bit. As Tim says, Paul does present both sides of the issues - those that support his conclusions, and those that do not.
One thing I was happy to see mentioned, is the 'behind the scenes' of what was going on at the MMMA and the issues between Leslie Harrison and Leslie Reade. I had not run across this level of detail before anywhere else.
I’ve was reading Paul’s book, ‘The Indifferent Stranger’. Brilliant research.
My daughter Karina is studying Astronomy and Astrophysics, and she seen me today reading his book and picked out the wording Antares.
Antares (or Alpha Scorpii) she said is a binary. The star is a red supergiant star with a smaller blue companion, Antares B.
Under certain circumstances when Antares B is visible through the brightness of Antares, the blue light from this smaller blue binary companion passes through the red glow of its primary and the blue light mixes with the red and causes a green shimmering affect. Now there’s now green stars per say, well there is, but the cones in the human eyes don’t allow us to see it as green.
In astronomical circles, Antares B is known as the fabled Green Star. But of course, it’s blue.
Given the circumstances (and conditions) on the night of the disaster, and checking her computer star charts - looking at this binary system, on the night of the 15th of April Antares B was visible slightly from behind Antares. This would have cause this star to have twinkled green / red.
I though you guys would be interested in this fact. I’d not known this, but my daughter jumped at the significance due to her astronomical knowledge and training.
Yes there are stars that emmit green light. In fact in the temperature range of 5700 to 6200 K the primary or max power density is in the green spectrum. One can obtain the total power density generated from a star in the visable region by simply adding up all the power densities of all the frequencies in the visible spectrum. So then why can not be green? Well this is somewhat complex and lengthly. First what is color? As I stated before we can analyze the power densities in what is called the frequency domain. Planck"s Law allows us to analyze each component of visible light produced by a star by its individual frequency component. The eye percieves color in what is called the time domain. That is we see all the colors at the same time. The same techniques to analyze power densities do not allow us to analyze color. The best method to show how color is generated let's look at the color triangle.
Take an equilateral triangle, that is a traingle with all three sides equal. The top apex is green the lower right is red and the lower left is blue. These are the starting point for our vectors or lines. If you draw three vectors or lines of equal distance towards the center, you have white light. Consequently if there are not vectors, you have black. Now take two vectors of equal length and start one from the green apex and the other from the red apex. They meet half way and the result is yellow. Notice we used red and green and no blue. By using three vectors at three specific frequencies, red, blue and green, we can reproduce color. This is done by vector algebra.
Now let's step back to Planck's Radiation Law. As a star burns, it heats the atoms to produce a broad spectrum of frequencies. Unfortunately this distribution is not symmetrical.
That is to say the power density generated from a star is not equal with respect to the wavelength of maximum power density at both below and above that wavelength. Instead the distribution of power density falls off gradually in the longer wavelengths or red region. Here in lies the reason why a star cannot appear green. Let's say our star burns at a temperature where the maximum power denisty is in the green light. To see the star as green we need to have our red vector and blue vector of the same magnitude.
This cannot happen !
At this ideal temperature red will always dominate. So our perceived color will always be shifted to the red hues and colors. Yes there will be some green content, but it is mixed with red. The star will appear between yellow and orange depending on the blue and red content.
Now let's add in another variable. Can looking through a nebula cloud alter the star's color. Yes to some degree. Emmison type nebulae will absorb the light energy at specific frequencies or wavelengths. They will also radiate that energy absorbed back at the same wavelength they absoebed in. The power density is less than that of that star that produced it. Most of these nebulae are hydrogen and hydrogen absorbs only one wavelength in the red region. Not enough to alter the red contribution to our theoretical star or significantly change the color.
Other metals in the outer atmosphere of the star will present absorbtion lines in spetra of a star. While yes they will reduce the power density in specific wavelenths they will not significantly alter the percieved color. Lastly there is the human eye.
A most imperfect color receptor. there are variations in eye to eye of even just ine one person let alone person to person. Then there is looking at two or more very bright stars in the same field of view. It two stars of sufficient difference in color, they can alter how we perceive them. The eye is the great mixing bowl of color. Case in point are stars liek Albeiro, SAO 21002 and SAO21006 and others. We see the light from both stars and our eye process them and blend the colors. In males the green red color blindness is possible. So yes some will see a star that is greenish. This solely is the processing in the eye and not from the star itself. In that aspect yes you can see a green or greenish star in your telescope.
Karina is studying for her Bachelor of Science in Astronomy & Astrophysics at Sydney’s Macquarie University.
That image (1) was taken in 1997. The other (2) taken a few years ago.
On a dark moon-less night, what would it have looked like shimmering in the distance ?
Perhaps a starboard running light.
A fierce stellar wind blowing from the surface of Antares has resulted in a circumstellar gas cloud, which is illuminated by the light from a hot B-type companion star that, at fifth magnitude, hides within the supergiant’s bright glare (separation 3", magnitude 6.5, period 900 years). Because it contrasts with the brilliant reddish primary, Antares B may appear green. The components are a challenge to resolve in amateur scopes. Some observers report success using either a light blue or an OIII filter to subdue a portion of Antares' light.
Quote (above). Siding Spring Observatory.
Was any of the crew colour blind ?
Anyway, thought it might be of interest to some.
I haven't read Paul's book yet, but I had mentioned the star Antares in Part 1 of my 4-part article in the THS Commutator called, "Light on the Horizon." It was in reference to a possible explanation as to why 3rd Officer Groves may have thought he saw two mast lights coming up from the southeast that night. What I wrote in the paper is the following:
"Using planetarium software we can recreate the night sky
at 11:25 p.m. Californian time. What we find is a very interesting sight as shown below."
"What we find is the planet Jupiter and the 1st magnitude star Antares in the constellation Scorpius bearing low down near the horizon. Between 11:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., Californian time, Titanic’s masthead light would have been coming from the east-southeast to the southeast looking brighter than a 1st magnitude star, just above the horizon passing beneath Jupiter first, and a few minutes later, passing beneath Antares. If the observer is not too careful, he just may remember seeing more than one bright light off in that direction when the subject was raised the following morning. Is this what made Groves think he saw two lights when everyone else saw but one? We obviously don’t know. But of the four men that saw this steamer from the bridge of the Californian that night, only Groves remembered seeing two mast lights."
Jupiter as seen through binoculars can have a slight (pointed) bulge when seen low on the horizon. This is usually caused by either of its large moons, Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, and Io.
Europa would cause a sparking white due to its icey surface, while Io would produce a red sparkle.
Other influences that impact on this could have been the incidence of Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights passing through Noctilucent clouds (Polar mesospheric clouds).
Other effects may have been observations of stars seen through funnel emissions from Titanic, likewise seen through emissions of a ship stationary ‘and slightly emerged in their own smoke'. What was the prevailing wind that night?
The more pollution, the more the buggers sparkle.
This may be of interest to a few here. The full article is posted on the BBC website.
Teacher finds new cosmic object. Hanny Van Arkel, 25, came across the strange gaseous blob while using the Galaxy Zoo website to help classify galaxies in telescope images.
As Karina would say, “GO the girls". [SH]
"The object quickly became known as "Hanny's Voorwerp" - Voorwerp being the Dutch word for "object".
Researchers think this green gaseous blob got its energy from light emitted from a quasar (a powerful radiation source powered by a supermassive black hole) that has since gone dim .............http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7543776.stm
Dr. Paul Lee’s "The Indifferent Stranger" is an extremely well researched investigation into the mystery of what ships were in the vicinity of the stricken White Star Liner TITANIC the night she sank. I have a strong interest in this aspect of the TITANIC story - this book kept me up until 3 o'clock in the morning reading it!
The Best TITANIC book I’ve read. http://www.paullee.com/book_details.php
Steve Hall, Co-author, "Titanic The Ship Magnificent" & "Titanic and Olympic: The Truth Behind The Conspiracy."