TAMPA (FOX 13) - From the stars in the sky to the surreal glow around the ship, this is one beautiful scene.
Late Tuesday, the Facebook page for the USS Makin Island shared a photo taken by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin M. Langer. It shows the side of the amphibious assault ship sailing through water illuminated by bioluminescent plankton.
These particular plankton emit an eerie blue glow when disturbed, in this case, by the passing of the ship. It's a common sight behind large military vessels.
Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell famously recalled a time when he was in the military, flying a nighttime mission when his plane's instruments failed. He did not know how he would find his way home until he noticed the glowing plankton and followed the trail back to the safety of his aircraft carrier.
The phenomenon can be seen in oceans and even rivers around the world, under the right conditions.
The Navy did not say specifically where the photo was taken but said the Makin Island was transiting the U.S. Fifth Fleet region, which includes the Middle East and part of the Indian Ocean. The ship is in that area supporting Tampa-based U.S. Central Command.