Images of a ship “hovering” in the sky over Cornwall, UK, attracted attention this week.
Although it is a montage, the shot is an optical illusion. The specific term for this phenomenon is “Fata Morgana” (name of a halfsister sorceress in the legend of King Arthur), which occurs when warm air meets cold water, causing objects to appear to be floating. It can also be called a superior mirage.
The “ghost ship” event was captured in photos and videos and published on social media profiles. Locals in Cornwall described the scenes as “miracles”.
“The optical illusion lasted for at least half an hour. And like most people with optical illusions or magic tricks do, I tried to figure out what it was or how it worked,” resident Lizzi Larbalestier explained to the local Cornwall newspaper.
Optical illusion is common in the Arctic but rare in the UK. Fata Morgana can be seen mainly in the local winter.
did you miss #WeatherWednesday in this week? That was the explanation for the ‘ship afloat’ reported in Cornwall last week.
It was caused by different air densities refracting light. Similar to a straw appearing to bend in a glass of water pic.twitter.com/RuQhv9LkZC
Chris Page Weatherman (@ChrisPage90) March 10, 2021