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No. 14: Winter 1981 Supplement

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More Phosphorescent Boomerangs

July 10, 1979. The Arabian Sea. Aboard the m.v. Strathelgin.

"At 1200 GMT large patches of milkygrey bioluminescence were observed; the patches appeared to form circular patterns resembling cartwheels, some of the configurations, however, did not have the central hub, see sketch. The patches pulsated at regular intervals (3 or 4 times per second). They moved in an anticlockwise direction until about 3 points abaft the beam where the direction of movement was reversed. On the beam they appeared to be at eye level, at all other times they were just above the surface of the water. The average size of the 'wheels' was 35 metres."

(Penman, B.; "Bioluminescence," Marine Observer, 50:114, 1980.)

Comment. A similar case of spinning boomerangs was reported in Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, where the display was stimulated by switching the ship's radar on and off. Here, one must also ask how a bioluminescent phenomenon can exist at "eye level" many feet above the sea surface. To order the above-mentioned book, go to: here.

Phosphorescent boomerang shapes in the Arabian sea

From Science Frontiers #14, Winter 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss