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No. 2: January 1978

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Another Indian Ocean Light Wheel

March 27, 1976. Position 10N., 101E.

"At 1917 GMT, C.J.A. Cladingbowl, the Second Officer of the s.s. Benattow saw pulsating parallel bands of light rushing toward the ship from 045T. After two to three minutes, the bands assumed a spoke formation with the center of rotation unseen but in the direction of 315T. The spokes were about 22 m in width, with 22 m between each spoke. Rotating clockwise, the spokes swept past the vessel at ever increasing speeds, reaching two spokes per second maximum. By 1925, the display had reverted to the parallel band form. Then, the bands changed into a counterclockwise rotating wheel. The performance ended when the display again reverted to parallel bands and faded out altogether. The light from the spokes was white to light green and its intensity increased with the speed of rotation."

(Cowie, R.E.; "Bioluminescence," Marine Observer, 47:17, 1977.)

Reference. Lightwheels and other weird forms of bioluminescence are cataloged in Chapter GLW of Lightning, Auroras. For details, see: here.

Ancient Indian Ocean light wheel
A = Locus of Center of spoke formation at beginning
B = Ship's course
C = Locus of center of spoke formation at end
D = Advancing bands of light
E = Direction of movement of spoke formation

From Science Frontiers #2, January 1978. 1978-2000 William R. Corliss