NPR logo

Satellite Spots 'Glowing' Ocean

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4990705/4990811" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Satellite Spots 'Glowing' Ocean

Science

Satellite Spots 'Glowing' Ocean

Satellite Spots 'Glowing' Ocean

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4990705/4990811" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Satellite images captured a large patch of glowing water off the coast of Somalia. The area is about the size of Connecticut, and researchers think billions of glowing bacteria are the source. Steven Haddock hide caption

toggle caption
Steven Haddock

Satellite images captured a large patch of glowing water off the coast of Somalia. The area is about the size of Connecticut, and researchers think billions of glowing bacteria are the source.

Steven Haddock

For hundreds of years, ship captains in the Indian Ocean have been writing of nighttime voyages through eerie stretches of water — areas where the surface of the ocean glowed so brightly that sailors could read books on deck at midnight. These milky waters were said to cover thousands of square miles.

Marine biologists used to ignore these kinds of reports. Now they don't. A group of satellite photos has changed their minds.