Bioluminescence Under A Starry Sky One of the things I love about astrophotography is you never know exactly what you may capture on any given night. You may be lucky enough to get a meteor streaking across frame, or even a sky full of intense air glow.

And last night was just one of those unexpected nights which I would rate right up there as one of my best nights of astrophotography to date. The unexpected thing about this night, was not in the night sky, but rather in the ocean in the form of glowing bioluminescence. Every time the waves broke, bioluminescent phytoplankton was stirred up making the wave glow brightly even to the naked eye. This was certainly something I wasn’t expecting, and it looked amazing under the starry night sky!

This image is a single exposure shot on a Canon 6d in Byron Bay, Australia.

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The light patterns on these glowing jellyfish are just amazing.

In the dark of the ocean, some animals have evolved to use bioluminescence as a defense. In the animation above, an ostracod, one of the tiny crustaceans seen flitting near the top of the tank, has just been swallowed by a cardinal fish. When threatened, the ostracod ejects two chemicals, luciferin and luciferase, which, when combined, emit light. Because the glow would draw undesirable attention to the cardinal fish, it spits out the ostracod and the glowing liquid and flees. Check out the full video clip over at BBC News. Other crustaceans, including several species of shrimp, also spit out bioluminescent fluids defensively. (Image credit: BBC, source video; via @amyleerobinson)