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Blue Sky + Looking Up = Seeing Tiny Dots And Swirls

Have you ever been staring into space, or gazing up at a clear, blue sky and suddenly noticed clusters of tiny dots and swirls?

Blue sky with sun reflecting

Photo: Janielle Beh (Flickr)

Has this "illusion" ever happened to you?

Have you ever been staring into space, or gazing up at a clear, blue sky and suddenly noticed clusters of tiny dots and swirls? Move your eyes and they move as well, seeming to float directly in front of your face. Are you really seeing something, or is it an illusion?

Dots And Swirls

What you see is real, and has to do with the inner workings of the eye. In the back of our eyes is a layer called the retina, which enables us to see. Like most body parts, the retina requires nutrients in the form of blood. Tiny blood vessels lying on top of the retina provide sustenance, but also cast a shadow on the retina.

A bright light shining into your eye from an angle sometimes makes the shadow of the retinal vessels visible, but normally the brain ignores this shadow, allowing us to see clearly.

White Or Light Blue Background

But the blood vessels are not empty, of course: they carry red and white blood cells. Red blood cells are relatively opaque, and therefore contribute to the shadow cast by the blood vessels. White blood cells, however, are transparent to light, and do not simply blend into the shadow. This means that under the right conditions they are visible, and will sometimes appear against a white or light-blue background such as the sky.

Because white blood cells are so small, they can be difficult to see. But the next time you gaze up on a cloudless day and do see a cluster of tiny dots, you’ll know that you’re watching white blood cells in action.

  • Kiri Pileta

    Can they be seen even on cloudy days?

  • Amanda Rules


  • Matt Leary

    When you see them at different times everywhere against variously colored and textured surfaces, that is not the norm. It is a phenomena that millions of people experience and is due much further investigation. Or at least more awareness so that we don’t think there is something fundamentally wrong with our experience of reality.

  • aditya

    uffff…. i got scared for no reason…. i though something was wrong with my eyes, and quickly thought of visiting a doctor……

    Glad i read this post first before making a fool out of myself…..

  • Erohiel

    I don’t buy that they’re white blood cells, because they’re brighter than the sky I’m looking at.

  • Jaime Flor

    Erohiel, I’ll give you an alternative answer, which some people will find hard to believe, but there are ongoing studies about subtle energy, & I believe you’re referring to a specific type nature energy. So I don’t think the “Blue Field Entoptic Phenomena,” is incorrect, but I just learned about it this year. However, in 2013, I was taught that I was looking at something else. After reading your comment, I think you may have clarified things for me. So you already know about the white blood cells. However, I believe that I’m seeing 2 different things. The white blood cells look like pieces of transparent dust that give off a feint whitish glow, as they lazily float about. However, I’m also seeing these rapid moving little lights, which are also whitish, but brightly lit. Sometimes, these lights can have a golden look to me. This is what Taoist’s would call Air Prana, which can be used to energize you through various breathing exercises, & techniques that involve the chakra points. Other nature energies include Solar Prana, (Ground) Earth Prana, & you can even receive energy from trees.

  • Tramolious Jal

    Hi, I Am James Laurent,(Tramolious JAL), Artist, Musician Song Writer, Designer, Graphics Artist, Poet, And Researcher In All Types Of Studies. As Prana, Qi,Ghi,Psi,Ki,Energy, Life Energy… And I Can Tell You This Is Not Any Of These Or Any Other Type Of Energies That Have Been Offered Here… I Have Been Seeing These Things For 50+yrs… I See Them Anywhere, Inside, Outside, Light Or Dark Rooms. Even Looking At Any Kind Of Surfaces… I Can Even See Them Separately And At The Same Time When I Am Practicing Qi Gong, And Other Energy Manipulation Forms…I Have Even Seen One Small Dot Of Light With A Tail About 10 Inches Long Come From A Room In My House, Travel Straight At Me And Go Into My Chest, While I Had No Feeling Of It At All… It Had A Long Tail As I Said That Was Waving Like A Snake, All White Like A Comet, And The Head Was Very Bright And As Small As A Straight Pen Head… They Look Like Free Electrons Might Look, Flying At Random In Space… I Used To Call Them Atoms, The Way They Collide And Sometimes Explode…They Are Some Type Of Energy, But Even I Am Not Sure What… Could Be Sir Isaac Newton, And Albert Einstein’s Theory that light was made up of tiny particles Of Energy….Which I Feel Is Closer Than Outer Ideas…If You Would Like To See A Representation Of This As I See It Also…There Is A Short Video Of What I And You May See…At: Blue field entoptic phenomenon
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Some Day We May All Find The Answer…

  • Elisabeth Townsend

    At the close of an outdoor group sky gazing meditation, I asked our teacher what were the millions of tiny silver things swirling very quickly every which way and she answered “tigles”, which I believe may be similar to “air prana”, but there is a deeper meaning in Tibetan Buddhism. There were a few others in the group that saw them. Our teacher said you may not always see them, but I do each time. As a child, I sky gazed and never saw them, only after I started serious meditation. I agree these are not slow moving or white, but seem like a radiant dancing energy light. I start to see them after 15-30 seconds and they just get more intense with continued gazing.

  • Bradlee Jeffreys

    I see them all the time everywhere, mostly at work or outside when it’s bright. Kinda drives me crazy

  • alroker100rack

    I don’t know anything about air prana or nature energy, as a kid I never saw these energy like dots, but now for the past 4 years I have been seeing them and for some reason my brain was telling me it was some type of matter or energy that I can see. I do not believe I see cells in action but energy that I can sometimes not only see but also FEEL! I feel a presence around me as these dots circle me

  • alroker100rack


  • Steph Pegg

    Its not that first try going into a static free clean room and look at a light if you don’t see that stuff then its something else the crap is in the air its called life or energy I call it static. Our brain are wired to see light or photons, now the brain has a code to distinguish the difference between physical and phased light. I once read that for the brain to allow us to see an object it has to have 7 or more photons and ignore anything less but we can change that function to see as little as one photon. Yes its faint light but it is possible to see it. Would it shock you to know your skin glows in low light level and you can train your eye’s to recognize it and see someone in like a cat vision state, also some people have trained there mind to pick up on others heat and emotional state. We like all animals on this planet have some characteristic in common with each other and you can take on some of those abilities they have. Its not easy but its not impossible with enough pratice anything can be done well almost. I have seen some crazy shit go down and I have seen those photons go into another object like an RDIF scanner that sets it off like it was trying to read it but it of course did not work. So someone is telling the world this is floaters I would have to call bullshit on that. Science is making progress but still along way off of understanding enough to discount anything I have said.

  • Steph Pegg

    when you see it can you touch it and it feels almost like static electricity. If this is the case then you have been building up Chi some can do it all on there own without trying. I have been seeing this from as early as 7years

  • Mimoz

    I 100% agree with you on this, Jaime flor. I have been able to see this Blue Field Entoptic phenomena ever since i was a child, but I noticed that every time I meditated and was living fully in the present moment I saw things I did not notice usually, including Air prana in the air. Mostly if I look up. I also saw waves or ernergy coming from trees, but (strangely?) when I am around ly phone I can’t see a thing. I decided to go out without my phone more…

  • Mimoz

    Yes, I see them better on cloudy days actually

  • Benjamin Brown

    Ok what does it mean then when outside at night, could be either cloudy or rainy and the whole sky or sometimes its here and there fills with little translucent circles with a thin black line circling the outer perimeter of the circle and then it the middle of these small circles is a tiny black dot. I see them at all times of the day or night and it doesnt have to be sunny or clear..? At other times I see white or blue light come from what I thought to be a star and have it suddenly flow down and sometimes comes right up to my face, I have even seen these wrap around my shoulder then back to the front of me again. As well when this happens the white or blue light once flowing down to me will start to turn in circular fashion and then begin growing in size up to around four to four and a half feet wide then sometimes after that occurs the turning spiral will cone out and zoom back such as a certain spider web does….? do these things happen to others? what does it mean?

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