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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987