Extraordinary Weather Phenomenon: Fata Morgana (mirage)

Fata Morgana (mirage)

The most well-known mirages are those that appear in the desert, but there is another category of mirages related to cold air this time. This can lead to even more incredible observations, such as flying objects.

Mirages are real optical phenomena that can be photographed and filmed. There are three main categories:

  • The lower or “warm” mirage, which makes an object appear at a lower altitude than reality. This is the one observed in the desert, or generally in very hot weather.
  • The upper or “cold” mirage, which distorts and stretches an object, making it appear much larger and often airborne. This is observed in polar regions or generally in frigid weather.
  • The Fata Morgana, which involves multiple layers of temperature inversions and gives the impression of seeing a distorted and chaotic landscape. This is often confused with a cold mirage.

Flying Boats, Buildings in the Sky and Mountain Peaks

Cold mirages regularly give rise to completely bizarre sightings. The most famous is that of the flying boat, with a ship appearing to sail several meters above the surface of the water.

This mirage has been seen and immortalized on several occasions along the English coast and in Russia. The same type of mirage can occur with houses and buildings floating in the sky or over the sea.

Equally bizarre are imaginary mountains, or mountain ranges that end up with new peaks: this mirage is sometimes seen in Canada, and even in the Alps.

A cold mirage can occur when there is a large temperature difference between the cold air on the ground and that aloft.

The air on the ground is much colder, which disturbs the light rays: in this “abnormal” context (since cold air is usually above warm air), the light rays are deflected.

This gives the impression that the object is in a different place from where it really is.