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(June 3) - The long-standing mystery over exactly what famed poet Walt Whitman saw streaking though the sky 150 years ago has apparently been solved by a team of bookworm astronomers. Following a trail that began with a 19th century painting and led to hundreds of newspaper reports, the researchers discovered that the "strange huge meteor-procession" mentioned in Whitman's noted collection "Leaves of Grass" indeed refers to a rare procession of earth-grazing meteors that occurred in 1860.
This painting by Frederic Church showing a meteor was a crucial clue in solving the mystery of what poet Walt Whitman saw in 1860 and later wrote about in "Leaves of Grass."