Sunday, 8 April 2012

Natural phenomenon turns Maldives sea water brighter than the Milky Way Read more:

Visitors to the Maldives expect to see spectacular scenery – but this colourful light display was something else. 

The Maldives tide turned electric blue (Picture: Doug Perrine/Barcroft Media)

The bright blue glow came from the beach on Vaadhoo Island after local plankton reacted with oxygen in the sea water to produce a light brighter than the Milky Way.

The natural phenomenon, called ‘bio-luminescence’, is hardly ever seen close to land and was captured by photographer Doug Perrine on a trip to the Indian Ocean.

He told AOL: 'This picture was taken on a starry, but moonless night.

'Each small wave lapping onto the shoreline was lit up like sheets of lightning.

'The plankton creating the light show was concentrated along the edge of the beach. The organisms creating it were large enough to be seen with the naked eye.'

Expert Peter Franks explained the phenomenon, saying: 'When jostled, each organism will give off a flash of blue light created by a chemical reaction within the cell.

'When billions and billions of cells are jostled — say, by a breaking wave — you get a seriously spectacular flash of light.'

The rare phenomenon is usually only seen further away from land when ships stir up the sea bed.

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