Mariners have long told of rare nighttime events in which the ocean glows intensely as far as the eye can see in all directions.
Fictionally, such a "milky sea" is encountered by the Nautilus in Jules Verne classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
Scientists don't have a good handle what's going on. But satellite sensors have now provided the first pictures of a milky sea and given new hope to learning more about the elusive events.
In 1985 a research vessel in the Arabian Sea took water samples during milky seas. Their conclusions were that the effect was caused by the bacteria Vibrio harveyi.