Pilot Snaps Weird Red Glow Beneath Clouds Unlike Anything He's Ever Seen

Mysterious red lights can be seen through the clouds over the ocean at night in bizarre photos taken by pilots.

As shared in a viral Reddit thread, the pictures show huge patches of an eerie red light over the Atlantic Ocean. According to the original poster, the photographer is a pilot friend of theirs, and said that he's "never seen anything like it." The pilot wishes to remain anonymous, but has been contacted by Newsweek for comment.

Commenters in the Reddit thread discussed theories of what could have caused the bizarre lights. Amongst joking suggestions that it might be UFOs, or perhaps a gateway to Stranger Things' Upside Down, one commenter suggested that the red glow may be due to a unique fishing tactic used by boats fishing for Pacific saury, a type of baitfish.

Red glow over Pacific
A picture taken by pilot and photographer Dmitriy @deltaoscarstudio showing a similar phenomenon over the Pacific Ocean in 2020. Dmitriy / @deltaoscarstudio

Pacific saury, which grow to a maximum of around 12 inches long, are found all around the Pacific Ocean and occasionally the Atlantic, and are caught both for consumption themselves and for bait in catching other, larger fish. Other types of saury are found in the Atlantic.

At night, using bright red lights attracts the saury to the surface of the water, allowing them to be easily scooped up in the nets of the commercial fishing vessels. Traditionally, fishing lamps have been used for a long time to attract fish species like saury towards fishing vessels at night, however, according to lamp manufacturer Delta, these LED fishing lamps are much more efficient and safe for use by the fishermen, as they produce less ultraviolet light and less heat than filament bulbs.

Similar phenomena have been spotted in the past, both by other pilots and by the International Space Station, which snapped a picture of hundreds of fishing boats using green fishing lights, thought to be better for catching squid, off the coast of Cambodia. Pilot and photographer Dmitriy, who goes by @deltaoscarstudio on social media, also took a similar picture of the fascinating sight in 2020 as he was flying from Seattle to Japan.

"In my line of work I've seen very many strange things," he told Newsweek.

It is thought that fleets of Pacific saury fishing boats using these LED lights have recently caused confusion elsewhere, with the sky above Zhoushan, China, turning a deep red color being suggested to be caused by the bright boats. The atmospheric conditions of the day are thought to have refracted the red light and caused the glow to take over the whole sky.

A Youtube video compiling the sightings of the strange red lights was released in July 2022 in response to the recent virality of the photos, and provides a good case for saury fishing being the definitive cause of the glow.

However, the true cause of the eerie red glow pictured in the sky by the anonymous pilot cannot officially be confirmed without further investigation of the kind of fishing vessels in the area at the time.