The Fata Morgana Phenomenon And the Cases Confirming It
As one ancient English legend says, King Arthur had a witch sister called Fata Morgana. The girl had an extremely bad temper and in general, was a disgrace to a noble family. Fata Morgana entertained herself by creating castles in the air, into which she lured random travelers and killed them. Strange natural phenomena better known as mirages are named after her.
Explaining the Fata Morgana Phenomenon
Scientists have thoroughly studied this phenomenon because there are more than enough reports of a mirage. Imagine the atmosphere of our planet in the form of an air cake, which consists of many layers with different temperatures. The density of the air, and, consequently, the refractive index, depends on the temperature. Thus, a sharp temperature drop is able to bend the course of the light beam.
It turns out that Fata Morgana is a kind of air “lens” that constantly shifts and changes its refractive index. Both the observer and the projected object are inside the air lens. Therefore, the traveler sometimes sees the image slightly distorted, but fairly reliable.
A tired traveler can never get close to the vision created by Fata Morgana. When the observer moves forward, the optical horizon (mirage) also moves at the same time. In the evening, the desert cools, temperature drops, and the mirage moves away from the traveler.
Mirage Is Not Just About the Desert
However, it turns out that it is not necessary to be in the desert to face the phenomenon of Fata Morgana. Fata Morgana took place in Sweden. There, during the years 1881-1888, a number of ghost cities, islands, and similar landscapes were observed. In 1889, Alaskan residents were already looking at the sky at the clear silhouettes of houses, streets, trees, religious buildings, similar to ancient mosques for several hours. The two following interesting cases also prove that Fata Morgana is not only the desert phenomenon.
Fata Morgana and Titanic
The hypothesis about the involvement of a mirage in the catastrophe of the legendary ocean liner, which on April 14, 1912, was moving towards Newfoundland in full swing, is perhaps the most exotic. It was put forward by the famous British historian Tim Maltin, speaking on the National Geographic television channel on the centenary of the tragedy.
The scientist did not dispute the fact that “Titanic” collided with an iceberg. But he explained why they did not see it from the ship and tried to maneuver only when contact with the ice block was already inevitable. According to Maltin, the iceberg was literally blocked by Fata-Morgana from observers on the ship.
The historian studied the weather reports of that time and the area in which the Titanic sank. And he came to the conclusion: the situation in the atmosphere disposed to the emergence of a mirage, which appeared right along the ship’s course. Mirage took the form of a wall of water. Observers could not see it, or not pay attention because of the dark time of day. But this ghostly substance really hid an iceberg.
Fata Morgana and the Legend of the Flying Dutchman
The legend of the flying Dutch has existed since the XVII century. It speaks of a ship that sank because of a terrible storm, and the whole crew perished. Later, a flying Dutchman began to be understood as a ghost ship, ruled by the souls of dead sailors. Many sailors reported that they saw a ship hovering over the sea. Usually, it heralds an approaching storm.
An explanation has now appeared for this phenomenon. Lightning and water vapor create an illusion, as a result of which it seems that a distant ship hovers above the surface of the sea. Usually, such a mirage appears in cold seas, for example, in the North Sea.
And in order not to be deceived by mirages and other untruthful weather data, make sure that you are using reliable weather API on your website!
Tags: Fata Morgana, mirage, air, temperature, Titanic, iceberg, desert, sea, theory, cases
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