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No. 20: Mar-Apr 1982

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Whirling Crescents Move With Ship

July 11, 1980. Malacca Strait. Uniform crescents of luminescence appeared suddenly. Horizontal to the sea surface, they moved around the ship in circles, starting just forward of the bow. The crescents were about 100 meters long, 0.5 meter wide, light green in color, and passed the observers at the rate of three per second. The display was centered on the ship and moved with it. Some thought the crescents were above the sea surface, others placed them on the surface itself.

(Lardler, D.A.; "Bioluminescence," Marine Observer, 51:116, 1981.)

Comment. If the display moved with the ship, it was probably not generated by microseisms (tiny earthquakes) -- the favorite explanation. If the display was truly above the surface, it may not have been bioluminescence. What is it then?

From Science Frontiers #20, MAR-APR 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss