Pilot captures mysterious red glow in clouds above the Atlantic: fishing vessel or the upside-down?!

red glowing clouds from fishing vessel
(Image credit: u/mohiemen via Reddit)

A pilot flying over the Atlantic Ocean shared a photo to Reddit after seeing a mysterious red glow coming from the clouds. While fans of Stranger Things may have instantly thought it's the upside-down and started humming Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, there is actually a scientific explanation for it.

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The pilot who goes by the Reddit name u/mohiemen posted to the Reddit channel r/Damnthatsinteresting and in the six days since he posted it's been upvoted 111K times and had an impressive 6.5k comments. Having never seen anything like it he took to Reddit in hope of finding out what the mysterious red glow was. While many of the people commenting were able to share some scientific information as to what the light source is, others joked that it was another Stranger Things PR stunt.

mysterious_red_glow_seen_over_the_atlantic_pilot from r/Damnthatsinteresting

Certain breeds of fish such as Saury which are also known as mackerel pike are attracted to red lights. Modern fishing vessels use red LED panels to draw the fish to the surface of the water making them easier to catch but from above it certainly looked otherworldly. For an unaware pilot who didn't know of such a fishing method, it definitely looked like it could've been the entrance to the upside-down as found in the middle of lovers lake.

Fishing lamps have long been used to lure fish to the surface but modern LED lamps are far more effective and much safer than halogen lamps as they produce less heat and ultraviolet than filament bulbs. 

The best LED light panels for photography won't lure fish, but will improve your shots.

This isn't the first time mysterious glowing lights have been spotted by a pilot. In 2018, the International Space Station also captured a photo showing glowing green fishing lights coming from boats off the coast of Cambodia. 

It's a simple explanation for a bizarre thing to see and it'll surely be a flight the pilot won't ever forget.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.