The celestial phenomenon in Nuremberg is quite surprising and is the subject of a debate between specialists in history, meteorology, psychology but also ufology.


The observation took place in Nuremberg, Bavaria, on the night of 14 April 1561. The story is told through an engraving and a text written by Hans Glaser, a 16th century German engraver and printer. (credit: published on wikipedia by Thgoiter)

Around four or five in the morning appeared “ with the sun two blood-red arches like the moon“, then came “ many spheres, blueish or ferrous or black“. They appeared in rows and left blood-red streaks in the background. Very quickly, cylinders arrived, each containing small balls. They started shooting at each other, the cylinders used spheres for that. All the “balls” fought for more than an hour, crossing each other, turning around the two red crescents. Some ships crashed a few kilometers from Nuremberg.

Then all the balls fell to the ground, disintegrating on contact with the ground. After this battle “something like a great and wide black spearhead appeared in the sky”. The inhabitants trusted God, seeing it as a divine intervention, a warning.

This story was not interpreted much at the time, due to its local character and obviously too extraordinary to be explained.

Different current approaches have been used to explain this phenomenon. First, the meteorological one. These could be the combined effects of a halo and a parhelion. Halo is an atmospheric phenomenon that causes rings, arches, columns or foyers of light to appear around the sun or moon. The parhelion, on the other hand, is linked to the halo and reveals two replicas of the image of the sun, placed horizontally and by and by it.

Of course, the extraterrestrial hypothesis has been put forward and the story interpreted as an aerial UFO battle. Ufologist Jacques Vallée shows that similar stories can be found in their description and structure over the centuries. In 1968, the Condon report reports the existence of a text found in the annals of Nuremberg, which reports the same event. As it is kept in the Zurich library, you will have to travel to see it.

Another comparable phenomenon occurred on August 7, 1566 in Basel. Red and black spheres would have fought in the sky. (credit: published on wikipedia by Cropbot)

What should we think of this phenomenon? The knowledge of the people of the time may not have been enough to understand this possibly atmospheric phenomenon, but what would happen if it were to happen again, in our time?

One can only speculate about these descriptions of unidentified flying objects.

Sources used in this article:

Image credit on the front page:

  • Kyla Cathey


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