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Great Meteor Procession

One Hundredth anniversary of the GMP event over Berlin

The Great Meteor Procession Centennial

  On the evening of February 9th 1913 an extraordinary event occurred over the skies of central Canada, northeastern U.S. and well into the Atlantic Ocean. The event is now known as the Great Meteor Procession (GMP).

  A series of very bright, slow moving meteors were observed over the course of four or five minutes and were seen to follow the same trajectory. Scores of individuals over a length of several thousand kilometers along the trajectory were known to have witnessed them.

  This event probably would have been forgotten had it not been for the diligence of one of Canada’s most celebrated astronomers. Clarence A. Chant (1865-1956) while at the University of Toronto heard about the meteors from local witnesses and quickly concluded that something unique had just happened. He in due course wrote a detailed paper about the incident and equally important, he collected eyewitness accounts from hundreds of individuals all along the trajectory. Chant can rightly be considered the “father of Canadian astronomy” and played a crucial role in the early years of the RASC. Among his many contributions, Chant was the first editor of the RASC Observer's Handbook, a position he held for fifty years.

  A few accounts of the GMP collected by Chant were from visitors and residence alike of Kitchener-Waterloo and the surrounding area. They include testimonials from Berlin (now Kitchener), Waterloo, Guelph, Elora and Hespeler (now part of Cambridge).
 The Berlin Record (now The Waterloo Region Record) published a front page story about the GMP on its February 10 1913 edition. The article captures the character of the event quite effectively.

  It is now the one hundredth anniversary of the GMP. At this time, it is worthwhile highlighting the local connection to the very significant Canadian contribution to this astonishing astronomical event.

Clark Muir      (member -KW RASC)

The Berlin article...

(click on image for greater resolution)

Scanned image of the Berlin Daily Record

The Berlin Daily Record front page story on the Great Meteor Procession from February 10 1913.(Scanned from microfilm, bottom two lines of text are missing.)