A Very Deceiving Night: “Much refraction on horizon”

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Miraging and abnormal refraction were recorded by other ships in the area where the Titanic sank.

On 10th April 1912, the Deutschland, out of coal and drifting in the ice which the Titanic would later crash into, recorded the following in her log:

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

Extracts from the log book of the SS Deutschland, out of coal and drifting near Titanic

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

On the 11th April 1912 a ship called the Niagara had damaged her bow plates in a serious collision with ice in fog in the area where the Titanic sank. That accident occurred while passengers were enjoying dinner and the New York Herald described the dramatic encounter, as follows, on 17th April 1912:

Passengers were hurled headlong from their chairs and broken dishes and glass were scattered throughout the dining saloons. The next instant there was a panic among the passengers and they raced screaming and shouting to the decks…”I thought we were doomed,” said Captain Juham yesterday. “At first I feared we had been in collision with another vessel as I hurried to the bridge. But when I saw it was an iceberg and that we were surrounded by ice as far as we could see through the fog, my fears for the safety of the passengers and the vessel grew….I am sure Captain Smith had a similar experience in practically the same locality when the Titanic went down.”

Niagara  recorded seeing miraging on the afternoon of the 12th April, whilst in the same area:

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

Extracts from the Greenwich Mean Noon Observations form of the S.S. Niagara

Further evidence of abnormal refraction in the area comes from the log of the Wilson Line steamer Marengo, bound from New York to Hull under the command of Captain G. W. Owen.  On the night of the collision and sinking of the Titanic on the 14/15th April 1912 she was in the same longitude as the Titanic and only one degree south, and her log records both the clear, starlit night and the great refraction on the horizon:

Extracts from the log book of the S.S. Marengo

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

tim maltin a very deceiving night ebook 01

I hope by blogging chapters from my book, A Very Deceiving Night, it will contribute to the ongoing discussions regarding the atmospheric conditions on the night of the tragedy and the true causes of the disaster. At the moment, the book is only available as an e-book. If you wish to purchase it then you can do so in Amazon Kindle format here and other formats, including Apple, Kobo and Nook, here. Thank you.

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