These beaches glow neon blue in the middle of the night — here's why

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'What on Earth?': A Connecticut-Sized Glow Beneath the Indian Ocean


From Hong Kong to California, there are some beautiful — and unique — beaches that glow neon blue at night.

This natural phenomena is caused by phytoplankton (a type of microalgae thatfloat at the surface of the ocean water). Theyemit a bright blue light after they become agitated by wave movements or nearby swimming fish.

Phytoplankton have channels to allow protons (positively charged subatomic particles) to pass through their bodies. So, the nearby movements in the water cause protons to pass through their bodies, creating electrical pulses, which trigger chemical reactions. These reactions, in turn, activate a protein called luciferase, which creates the blue light.

Bioluminescent phytoplankton are almost exclusively found in salt water. This is believed to be the case because one of the chemicals needed for the reaction isn't found in freshwater.

If this sounds to you like a sight that you don't want to miss, here are some places where you can experience this magical phenomenon.

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Bioluminescent Beaches
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Bioluminescent Beaches
A couple sits on the sand of Sydney's Manly Beach late at night as they watch blue bioluminescent waves July 25, 2014. According to local media, millions of tiny single-cell dynamos, called dinoflagellates, are causing the colored waves as result of warm ocean currents and favourable coastal winds, with the waves providing the agitation needed to trigger the luminescent glow. REUTERS/David Gray (AUSTRALIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT)
Glow-in-the-dark blue waves caused by the phenomenon known as harmful algal bloom or "red tide", are seen at night near Sam Mun Tsai beach in Hong Kong January 22, 2015. Algal blooms occur when there is a sharp growth in algae population in a water system, and are considered harmful when resulting in negative impacts on other organisms. Picture taken using long exposure. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A couple stands on the sand of Sydney's Manly Beach late at night as they watch blue bioluminescent waves July 25, 2014. According to local media, millions of tiny single-cell dynamos, called dinoflagellates, are causing the colored waves as result of warm ocean currents and favourable coastal winds, with the waves providing the agitation needed to trigger the luminescent glow. REUTERS/David Gray (AUSTRALIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT)
Bioluminescent phytoplankton create their own light during a red tide in the rolling surf along the coast of Leucadia, California September 29, 2011. A water condition knows as red tide, where billions of decaying, single-celled organisms gather in the ocean, create a night time light show for local residents. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT)
Bioluminescent phytoplankton create their own light during a red tide in the rolling surf along the coast of Leucadia, California September 29, 2011. A water condition knows as red tide, where billions of decaying, single-celled organisms gather in the ocean, create a night time light show for local residents. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT) BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE
Bioluminescent phytoplankton create their own light during a red tide in the rolling surf along the coast of Leucadia, California September 29, 2011. A water condition knows as red tide, where billions of decaying, single-celled organisms gather in the ocean, create a night time light show for local residents. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT) BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE
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