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Mariners have long told of rare nighttime events in which the ocean glows intensely as far as the eye can see in all directions.
Fictionally, such a "milky sea" is encountered by the Nautilus in Jules Verne classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
Scientists don't have a good handle what's going on. But satellite sensors have now provided the first pictures of a milky sea and given new hope to learning more about the elusive events.
The newly released images show a vast region of the Indian Ocean, about the size of Connecticut, glowing three nights in a row. The luminescence was also spotted from a ship in the area.
"The circumstances under which milky seas form is almost entirely unknown," says Steven Miller, a Naval Research Laboratory scientists who led the space-based discovery. "Even the source for the light emission is under debate."
The leading idea
Scientists suspect bioluminescent bacteria are behind the phenomenon. Such creatures produce a continuous glow, in contrast to the brief, bright flashes of light produced by "dinoflagellate" bioluminescent organims that are seen more commonly lighting up ship wakes and breaking waves.
Originally posted by ivanglam
Whoa.... I wonder what that is... IT LOOKS HUGE .
What could cause lighting on that largw of a scale?