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NASA Spots A Mysterious Dark Streak Across Arabian Sea

First Posted: May 04, 2017 05:10 AM EDT
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NASA's Terra satellite has captured a sort of intrusion of darkness into light regions of the Arabian Sea. This is a natural phenomenon called sunglint, experts said.

The streak of darkness seems so eerie in the surrounding Arabian Sea, which is a region of the northern ocean that is bounded on the west by northwestern Somalia and Arabian Peninsula, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, and on the east by India. It was taken on April 11 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer that is on the board the Terra satellite.

NASA's Earth Observatory stated that this spooky darkness is referred to as sunglint. Once the satellites collected light from above smooth waters, the light then reflects higher like a mirror. On the other hand, when the water gets wavy, the light striking the surface of the water reflects upward to the satellite at various orientations. This means less light reaches the satellite's photodetectors. Once the satellite, the Sun and the water are all aligned, the water then appears much brighter, according to CBS News.

The sunglint is visible as a streak of bright light that could be seen in the middle of the satellite image. In the image shown, the sunglint is in the bottom central area of the image of the Arabian Sea.

Sunglint appears when sunlight reflects off the surface of the ocean at the similar angle with that of the satellite or other sensor perceiving the surface. The affected area or the smooth ocean water could be seen as the silvery mirror, while the rougher surface looks dark. At other times, the sunglint area of the satellite images could uncover spectacular ocean or atmospheric features that sometimes the sensor does not record. Some of the sunglints recorded were seen in Indonesia and Australia. 

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