Living Lights: A Popular Account of Phosphorescent Animals and Vegetables

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Sampson Low, Marston, 1887 - Marine biology - 187 pages
 

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Page 17 - While sailing a little south of the Plata on one very dark night, the sea presented a wonderful and most beautiful spectacle. There was a fresh breeze, and every part of the surface, which during the day is seen as foam, now glowed with a pale light. The vessel drove before her bows two billows of liquid phosphorus, and in her wake she was followed by a milky train. As far as the eye reached, the crest of every wave was bright, and the sky above the horizon, from the reflected glare of these livid...
Page 49 - Sorrowing we beheld The night come on ; but soon did night display More wonders than it veiled : innumerous tribes From the wood-cover swarmed, and darkness made Their beauties visible ; one while, they streamed A bright blue radiance upon flowers that closed Their gorgeous colours from the eye of day ; Now, motionless and dark, eluded search, Self-shrouded ; and anon, starring the sky, Rose like a shower of fire.
Page 135 - One dark night, about the beginning of December, while passing along the streets of the Villa de Natividade, I observed some boys amusing themselves with some luminous object, which I at first supposed to be a kind of large firefly ; but on making inquiry, I found it to be a beautiful phosphorescent fungus, belonging to the genus Agaricus, and was told that it grew abundantly in the neighbourhood, on the decaying leaves of a dwarf palm.
Page 152 - ... injured the astronomical instruments. The morning before we anchored at Porto Praya, I collected a little packet of this brown-coloured fine dust, which appeared to have been filtered from the wind by the gauze of the vane at the masthead.
Page 153 - It has often fallen on ships when several hundred, and even more than a thousand miles from the coast of Africa, and at points sixteen hundred miles distant in a north and south direction. In some dust which was collected on a vessel three hundred miles from the land, I was much surprised to find particles of stone above the thousandth of an inch square, mixed with finer matter. After this fact one need not be surprised at the diffusion of the far lighter and smaller sporules of cryptogamic plants.
Page 132 - ... not be ascertained. This was luminous, but the light was by no means so bright as in those parts of the wood where the spawn had penetrated more deeply, and where it was so intense that the roughest treatment scarcely seemed to check it. If any attempt was made to rub off the luminous matter it only shone the more brightly, and when wrapped up in five folds of paper the light penetrated through all the folds on either side, as brightly as if the specimen was exposed ; when again the specimens...
Page 118 - OF 1854. 451 nails clearly defined upon the skin. The phosphorescence was not unlike the ineffectual fire of the glowworm. As I took the pistol my hand became illuminated also, and so did the powder-rubbed paper when I raised it against the muzzle. " The paper did not ignite at the first trial, but, the light from it continuing, I was able to charge the pistol without difficulty, rolled up my paper into a cone, filled it with moss sprinkled over with powder, and held it in my hand while I fired.
Page 101 - When the larger specimen, taken at night, was removed into a dark apartment, it afforded a very extraordinary spectacle. The entire inferior surface of the body and head emitted a vivid and greenish phosphorescent gleam, imparting to the creature, by its own light, a truly ghastly and terrific appearance. The luminous effect was constant, and not perceptibly increased by agitation or friction. I thought at one time it shone brighter when the fish struggled, but I was not satisfied that such was the...
Page 153 - The dust falls in such quantities as to dirty everything on board, and to hurt people's eyes ; vessels even have run on shore owing to the obscurity of the atmosphere. It has often fallen on ships when several hundred, and even more than a thousand miles from the coast of Africa, and at points sixteen hundred miles distant in a north and south direction.
Page 63 - She beckoned, and descended, and drew out From underneath her vest, a cage, or net It rather might be called, so fine the twigs Which knit it, where confined two fire-flies gave Their lustre. By that light did Madoc first Behold the features of his lovely guide ; And through the entrance of the cavern gloom, He followed in full trust.

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