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Scientists discovered a glowing purple orb at the bottom of the ocean. They still have no idea what it is.

Update, August 23: Nearly a month after it was first discovered, the scientists still have no idea what the purple orb is! “We don't have a definitive identification yet,” an E/V Nautilus spokesperson says in an email. “We're waiting on further analysis from on-shore science teams.”


Deep under the sea, near the Channel Islands several miles off the coast of California, marine scientists noticed a glowing purple orb hiding in the shadows. They zoomed in on the creature with an underwater robot camera — and were completely mystified. They had never seen anything like this before.

“I’m stumped,” you can hear one of the scientists say in the video below, as they watch a live feed. “I have no idea. I couldn’t even hazard a guess.”

In the video, you can hear the scientists — part of the ocean research vessel E/V Nautilus chatter in real time, completely agog about what they are approaching.

Some snippets from their conversation:

“What if it’s an egg sack of some sort?”

“Is that a little embryo-type thing inside?”

“Maybe it’s a spider egg sack?”

“Maybe we should leave it, then, we don’t want to mess with spider egg sacks.”

“Get some lasers.”

“It looks like a disco ball right now.”

The team brought it onboard the ship for further analysis. And they still have no idea what it is.

Their best guess is that it’s a type of pleurobranch (kind of like a sea slug). Or it could be a newly discovered species altogether. You can watch their Twitter feed for further updates.

As we await the naming of the orb, the video serves as a reminder that the ocean is still a mysterious place, even for marine scientists. In total, humans have explored less than 5 percent of the ocean floor.

Who knows what other glowing wonders are out there?