APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

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APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby APOD Robot » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:12 am

Image Night Glows

Explanation: What glows in the night? This night, several unusual glows were evident -- some near, but some far. The foreground surf glimmers blue with the light of bioluminescent plankton. Next out, Earth's atmosphere dims the horizon and provides a few opaque clouds. Further out, the planet Venus glows bright near the image center. If you slightly avert your eyes, a diagonal beam of light will stand out crossing behind Venus. This band is zodiacal light, sunlight scattered by dust in our Solar System. Much further away are numerous single bright stars, most closer than 100 light years away. Furthest away, also rising diagonally and making a "V" with the zodiacal light, is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. Most of the billions of Milky Way stars and dark clouds are thousands of light years away. The featured image was taken last November on the Iranian coast of Gulf of Oman.

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Boomer12k » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:38 am

Beautiful...what no GLOW WORM???

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby neufer » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:14 am

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:55 am

It glows! It's BLUE! :D

Long ago, I was swimming among bioluminescent plankton. It slid past me and all over me and covered me in little starry points of light. It was magical!

Beautiful APOD!

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Nitpicker » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:20 am

Beautiful APOD. Mars also glows, above and to the left of Venus, within the zodiacal light. The trapezium of four stars below Venus, is the handle of the teapot asterism.

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:34 am

Nitpicker wrote:Beautiful APOD. Mars also glows, above and to the left of Venus, within the zodiacal light. The trapezium of four stars below Venus, is the handle of the teapot asterism.


And the bluish star at top right is Altair in Aquila, the southernmost of the Summer Triangle stars.

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Rusty Brown in Cda » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:04 am

Those clouds don't look "opaque" to me. To me they look "translucent".

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby neufer » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:05 pm

Ann wrote:
Long ago, I was swimming among bioluminescent plankton. It slid past me and all over me and covered me in little starry points of light. It was magical! It glows! It's BLUE! :D

So THAT explains it.
Last edited by neufer on Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:14 pm

neufer wrote:
Ann wrote:
It glows! It's BLUE! :D

So THAT explains it.


Of course. Image

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby danhammang » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:40 pm

For me this image brings a sense of wonder about the vastness and beauty of our little corner of the universe. Thank you to Taha Ghouchkanlu for this magical work and for your generosity in sharing it. Thanks also to APOD for making it available to our wider viewer community and adding great background information.

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Catalina » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:47 pm

What a stunning view of our world and the deep night sky. Such beauty is universal both in small and large scales. Is there a way to obtain a print of this image?

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby MarkBour » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:10 pm

Having never seen this phenomenon, I was suspicious that it was only visible with astronomer/photographer tricks to enhance the bioluminescent light. But then I watched a few videos and concluded that it really might look this way to the naked (human) eye. Those of you who have seen blue bioluminescent phytoplankton in the surf in person seem to have confirmed that with your reports. Correct? It seems like something beautiful, worth trying to go experience. One of the closest places to me that I've seen listed is San Diego. Is it highly seasonal, or otherwise difficult to catch? Or is it pretty much any night? Ann, you said it was magical. Did you have any feeling that it was like polluted water, or was it just nice?
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Chris Peterson » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:58 pm

MarkBour wrote:Having never seen this phenomenon, I was suspicious that it was only visible with astronomer/photographer tricks to enhance the bioluminescent light. But then I watched a few videos and concluded that it really might look this way to the naked (human) eye. Those of you who have seen blue bioluminescent phytoplankton in the surf in person seem to have confirmed that with your reports. Correct? It seems like something beautiful, worth trying to go experience. One of the closest places to me that I've seen listed is San Diego. Is it highly seasonal, or otherwise difficult to catch? Or is it pretty much any night? Ann, you said it was magical. Did you have any feeling that it was like polluted water, or was it just nice?

I've seen bioluminescent plankton on a number of occasions, on the Southern California coastline, at Catalina Island, and in the Mediterranean. It's bright enough to be visibly blue, but I've never seen anything as bright or saturated as what this image shows. But the Milky Way doesn't show color to the eye, either, but this image is bringing that out. So that tells me that all of the dim phenomena in this scene are being boosted somewhat by the relatively long exposure time. (And the zodiacal light here is very dim- probably borderline naked eye.)
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:21 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
MarkBour wrote:Having never seen this phenomenon, I was suspicious that it was only visible with astronomer/photographer tricks to enhance the bioluminescent light. But then I watched a few videos and concluded that it really might look this way to the naked (human) eye. Those of you who have seen blue bioluminescent phytoplankton in the surf in person seem to have confirmed that with your reports. Correct? It seems like something beautiful, worth trying to go experience. One of the closest places to me that I've seen listed is San Diego. Is it highly seasonal, or otherwise difficult to catch? Or is it pretty much any night? Ann, you said it was magical. Did you have any feeling that it was like polluted water, or was it just nice?

I've seen bioluminescent plankton on a number of occasions, on the Southern California coastline, at Catalina Island, and in the Mediterranean. It's bright enough to be visibly blue, but I've never seen anything as bright or saturated as what this image shows. But the Milky Way doesn't show color to the eye, either, but this image is bringing that out. So that tells me that all of the dim phenomena in this scene are being boosted somewhat by the relatively long exposure time. (And the zodiacal light here is very dim- probably borderline naked eye.)


The bioluminescence I was swimming in was blue-white. Mark, swimming in it was just lovely. I couldn't feel it, just see it.

By the way, can anyone explain why plankton bioluminescence tends toward blue, whereas the bioluminescence of fireflies is yellow?

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Nitpicker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:57 am

Ann wrote:By the way, can anyone explain why plankton bioluminescence tends toward blue, whereas the bioluminescence of fireflies is yellow?


Different kinds of luciferin:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciferin

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:00 am

Nitpicker wrote:
Ann wrote:By the way, can anyone explain why plankton bioluminescence tends toward blue, whereas the bioluminescence of fireflies is yellow?


Different kinds of luciferin:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciferin


Thanks, but the answer I got was confusing.

Wikipedia wrote:

Coelenterazine is found in radiolarians, ctenophores, cnidarians, squid, brittle stars, copepods, chaetognaths, fish, and shrimp. It is the prosthetic group in the protein aequorin responsible for the blue light emission.


Wikipedia wrote:

Coelenterazine can be crystallized into orange-yellow crystals. The molecule absorbs light in the ultraviolet and visible spectrum, with peak absorption at 435 nm in methanol, giving the molecule a yellow color.


Wikipedia wrote:

It was also noted during the extraction the animal creates green light due to the presence of the green fluorescent protein, which changes the native blue light of aequorin to green.


But okay, I finally found the answer, tucked away far down in one of the Wikipedia articles.

Wikipedia wrote:

It was later discovered that the apoprotein can stably bind coelenterazine and oxygen is required for the regeneration to the active form of aequorin.[21] However, in the presence of calcium ions, the protein undergoes a conformational change and through oxidation converts its prosthetic group, coelenterazine, into excited coelenteramide and CO2.[22] As the excited coelenteramide relaxes to the ground state, blue light (wavelength of 465 nm) is emitted. Before coelenteramide is exchanged out, the entire protein is still fluorescent blue.
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Nitpicker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:32 am

Bioluminescence seems complicated, doesn't it? That's why I only posted the single link I did, which doesn't appear to contradict itself, like the variety of snippets you've taken from other Wiki pages.

In response to your original "why are they different colours" query, my first thought was: "because they emit different wavelengths". :-) Looking deeper, one can easily get bogged down in complicated chemical reactions. But if one looks deeper still, as to why, one could say that each species probably evolved their own unique chemistry, to emit a particular colour range that gave them some kind of advantage, even if that advantage was mere prettiness.

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:40 am

I'd like to say a few more words about swimming in bioluminescence. It happened in 1972, off the island of Öckerö, west of Sweden's second biggest city, Göteborg.

It was in August, probably around 11 p.m. It was dark, but there was a pretty bright Moon in the sky. Six of us teenagers were out in a rowing boat made of wood, somewhat similar to this one. It was a still night, and the water was calm and dark, but when tiny little waves broke there was a little splash of needlepricks of lights, turning on and going out again.

My cousin was rowing. When the oars moved through the water, there was a veritable riot of lights, shimmering in the water and climbing up the oars. The wake after our boat was brilliant with points of light.

Most of us kids wanted to swim in the water to create such light with our own bodies, but I was undecided. In August, the salty waters off the west coast of Sweden is pretty warm (22o C if you are lucky), and the water is full of stinging jellyfish. In the daytime you can see them and avoid them, but they become invisible in the blackness of night. I was afraid of swimming into one of them, but in the end I, too, jumped into the water.

It was indeed magical. Because the water was dark as long as it was still, it was our movements that "set the sea on blue-white fire". We were swimming, diving, splashing around and floating on our backs, just to see how the water turned into starlight all over us and around us.

It was incredible! And I didn't get stung by a jellyfish, either. It was as if nothing could hurt us that night.

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby neufer » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:24 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Chris Peterson » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:21 pm

Ann wrote:But okay, I finally found the answer, tucked away far down in one of the Wikipedia articles.

Wikipedia wrote:

It was later discovered that the apoprotein can stably bind coelenterazine and oxygen is required for the regeneration to the active form of aequorin.[21] However, in the presence of calcium ions, the protein undergoes a conformational change and through oxidation converts its prosthetic group, coelenterazine, into excited coelenteramide and CO2.[22] As the excited coelenteramide relaxes to the ground state, blue light (wavelength of 465 nm) is emitted. Before coelenteramide is exchanged out, the entire protein is still fluorescent blue.

I don't think you did. The effect you saw was probably caused by dinoflagellate luciferin, not coelenterazine. Both are blue (marine bioluminescent chemistry has almost all evolved to produce blue light, since it travels farther in water), but the former is associated with glowing from waves and other disturbed water.
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:22 pm

Thanks for the info, Chris! And thanks for the lovely video, Art.

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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby neufer » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:23 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
The effect you saw was probably caused by dinoflagellate luciferin, not coelenterazine. Both are blue (marine bioluminescent chemistry has almost all evolved to produce blue light, since it travels farther in water), but the former is associated with glowing from waves and other disturbed water.

    It's a good thing that Ann didn't go swimming below a depth of 500 meters:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoplight_loosejaw wrote:
<<The stoplight loosejaws are small, deep-sea dragonfishes of the genus Malacosteus. They are found worldwide, outside of the Arctic and Subantarctic, in the mesopelagic zone below a depth of 500 meters. Malacosteus and the related genera Aristostomias and Pachystomias are the only fishes that produce red bioluminescence. As most of their prey organisms are not capable of perceiving light at those wavelengths, this allows Malacosteus to hunt with an essentially invisible beam of light. The rapid attenuation of red light in sea water gives Malacosteus a shorter visual range than species that use blue light, and it does not migrate vertically into more productive [Ann filled] waters like other stomiids. Furthermore, Malacosteus is unique amongst animals in using a chlorophyll derivative to perceive red light. No vertebrates are known to synthesize chlorophyll derivatives, and Malacosteus is believed to obtain these derivatives from the copepods it consumes. These fishes have a wide distribution in all oceans: M. niger is found between 66° N and 33° S, except for the Mediterranean Sea, while M. australis is found in the southern transition zone between 25° to 45° S, where it is bound by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Both species are usually found below a depth of 500 meters in midwater. They are the only known stomiids that do not seem to conduct significant diurnal vertical migrations.>>
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Chris Peterson » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:43 pm

neufer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:The effect you saw was probably caused by dinoflagellate luciferin, not coelenterazine. Both are blue (marine bioluminescent chemistry has almost all evolved to produce blue light, since it travels farther in water), but the former is associated with glowing from waves and other disturbed water.

    It's a good thing that Ann didn't go swimming below a depth of 500 meters:

Why would she? It's black down there, not blue. She wouldn't waste her time on it!
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby neufer » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:22 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
neufer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
The effect you saw was probably caused by dinoflagellate luciferin, not coelenterazine. Both are blue (marine bioluminescent chemistry has almost all evolved to produce blue light, since it travels farther in water), but the former is associated with glowing from waves and other disturbed water.

    It's a good thing that Ann didn't go swimming below a depth of 500 meters:

Why would she? It's black down there, not blue. She wouldn't waste her time on it!

Dark blue(; it's not yet the aphotic bathypelagic).

Ann could be a Titania of the Deep.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesopelagic_zone wrote:
<<The mesopelagic (Greek μέσον, middle) (also known as the middle pelagic or twilight zone) is that part of the pelagic zone that extends from a depth of 200 to 1000 metres below the ocean surface. It lies between the photic epipelagic above and the aphotic bathypelagic below, where there is no light at all.

Although the temperature varies less at any one height than the epipelagic, the mesopelagic is the location of the thermocline; and in warmer regions of the world, the temperature varies from over 20°C at the top to around 4°C at the boundary with the bathyal zone. Water generally moves slowly in the mesopelagic with a residency time of about a century though a variety of animals move vertically through the zone on a daily basis and various debris sink down in relatively short time frames.

Although some light penetrates the mesopelagic zone, it is insufficient [and too blue] for photosynthesis. The general types of life forms found are daytime visiting herbivores, detritivores feeding on dead organisms and fecal pellets, and carnivores feeding on the former types. Examples of animals in the mesopelagic zone are: bristlemouth, swordfish, squid, wolf eels, cuttlefish and other semi-deepsea creatures. The bristlemouth is the Earth's most abundant vertebrate, numbering in the hundreds of trillions to quadrillions. The small amount of sunlight is sufficient for animals, such as the chain catshark, to be fluorescent.

The quantity of mesopelagic life is large enough to play a significant role in global carbon cycling. As the fish participate in the food chain, they acquire carbon rendered from carbon dioxide absorbed by surface waters. Upon death, they transport that carbon into the abyss. As of 2015 the revised estimates of mesopelagic life had yet to be incorporated into climate models.>>
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Re: APOD: Night Glows (2017 Apr 18)

Postby Ann » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:38 pm

Ha-haha! I love that discussion and parrying between the two of you, Chris and Art! :lol2:

And Art, I just love that info about the names of different depth layers of the ocean. The names of the top two layers don't tell me much, although I appreciate the pretty color of them - well the pretty color of the layers, not the names. (Perhaps the top one should be called cyanopelagic, or even caerulopelagic?) But the third: Bathypelagic! Where you take bath? And the fourth: Abyssopelagic. Okay, now we're in the abyss! And the fifth, although it's more of a crack than a layer: Hadopelagic. We've finally come to Hades!

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