Various kinds of mirages in one location taken over the course of six minutes, not shown in temporal order. The two lower frames and the main frame all show superior mirages of the Farallon Islands. true light a superior take pdf-image mirage, and then back to a 2-image mirage. 70 feet above sea level.

The upper frame was photographed from sea level. What the image appears to represent, however, is determined by the interpretive faculties of the human mind. For example, inferior images on land are very easily mistaken for the reflections from a small body of water. An inferior mirage is called “inferior” because the mirage is located under the real object. Light rays coming from a particular distant object all travel through nearly the same air layers and all are bent over about the same amount.

Therefore, rays coming from the top of the object will arrive lower than those from the bottom. The image usually is upside down, enhancing the illusion that the sky image seen in the distance is really a water or oil puddle acting as a mirror. Inferior images are not stable. The image will be distorted accordingly. If there are several temperature layers, several mirages may mix, perhaps causing double images.

When appearing on roads due to the hot asphalt, it is often referred to as a highway mirage. The mind interprets this as a pool of water on the road, since water also reflects the sky. The illusion fades as one gets closer. These kinds of inferior mirages are often called “desert mirages” or “highway mirages”.

C hotter than the air one meter above, enough to create conditions suitable for the formation of the mirage. An artificial mirage, using sugar solutions to simulate the inversion layers. The cat appears in multiple images. This simulates an atmosphere with two inversion layers. A superior mirage occurs when the air below the line of sight is colder than the air above it. Superior mirages are in general less common than inferior mirages, but, when they do occur, they tend to be more stable, as cold air has no tendency to move up and warm air has no tendency to move down.

Superior mirages also occur at more moderate latitudes, although in those cases they are weaker and tend to be less smooth and stable. Because of the turbulence, there appear to be dancing spikes and towers. A superior mirage can be right-side up or upside down, depending on the distance of the true object and the temperature gradient. Often the image appears as a distorted mixture of up and down parts. Superior mirages can have a striking effect due to the Earth’s curvature. Were the Earth flat, light rays that bend down would soon hit the ground and only nearby objects would be affected. The crew was forced to endure the polar winter there.

They saw their midwinter night come to an end with the rise of a distorted Sun about two weeks earlier than expected. It was not until the 20th century that science could explain the reason: the real Sun had still been below the horizon, but its light rays followed the curvature of the Earth. The inversion layer must have just the right temperature gradient over the whole distance to make this possible. In the same way, ships that are in reality so far away that they should not be visible above the geometric horizon may appear on the horizon or even above the horizon as superior mirages. This may explain some stories about flying ships or coastal cities in the sky, as described by some polar explorers. Earth, and the horizon will appear flat.