In 1995 I was coming back from Haiti on an Army landing craft during a hurricane. Sky lit up like daylight for over 40 seconds. Captain woke up and thought it was a flare from a craft with refugees. Was definitely not a flare as there were no shadows and we searched for a bit and saw no watercraft visually or watercraft on radar.
About 20 minutes later, we almost had a head on collision with an Aegis cruiser like the photo of the ship above.
They were heading in that direction fast and didn’t see us visually or on radar. We swerved hard to one side to avoid the collision. Smell of ozone and the light didn’t seem to have a source. Everything was just illuminated. Was right at 3a.m. as I left my watch which was weird. Maybe a weapon systems or battlefield tech test.
Who knows. We were in pretty rough seas, but it cleared and the seas calmed as the illumination happened. -Sean P