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[[Image:Milky sea.jpg|frame|none|right|Milky seas effect]]
 
'''Milky seas''' is a condition on the open [[ocean]] where large areas of [[seawater]] (up to 6,000 square miles) are filled with [[bioluminescent]] [[bacteria]], causing the ocean to uniformly glow an eerie blue at night. The condition has been the stuff of [[sailor|mariner]]'s tales for centuries – notably appearing in chapter 24 of [[Jules Verne]]'s ''[[Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea]]'' – but until recently it has not been rigorously documented.
There have been 235 documented sightings of milky seas since 1915 - mostly concentrated in the north-western [[Indian Ocean]] and near Indonesia.
 
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]]''.
 
In [[2005]], Steven Miller of the [[Naval Research Laboratory]] in [[Monterey, California]], was able to match [[1995]] [[Satellite images]] with a first-hand account of a merchant ship. U.S. [[Defense Meteorological Satellite Program]] showed the milky area to be approximately 15,400-km² (roughly the size of the [[Connecticut]]). The luminescent field was observed to glow over three consecutive nights.
 
While monochromatic photos make this effect appear white, [[Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute]] scientist [[Steve Haddock]] (an author of a milky seas effect study) has commented, "the light produced by the bacteria is actually blue, not white. It is white in the graphic because of the monochromatic sensor we used, and it can appear white to the eye because the rods in our eye (used for night vision) don't discriminate color." [http://www.boingboing.net/2005/10/04/first_milky_sea_phot.html]
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