Detecting an eerie sea glow

At night, glowing bacteria can give large areas of the sea a surreal milky color.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM September 30, 2005

Out at sea, there are nights when huge patches of the water's surface glow with an eerie white light. Sailors have been telling tales of these "milky seas" for hundreds of years, but only now have scientists finally documented the phenomenon.


First, Steve Miller of the Naval Research Laboratory and his coworkers scoured ship records for mentions of glowing seas. They found a carefully recorded sighting that dated back to Jan. 25, 1995. It had occurred in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Soma...

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