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Fata Morgana: Rare mirages phenomenon in Thessaloniki Gulf (video) – POLL

Residents of Thessaloniki in northern Greece were able to observe the rare phenomenon of Fata Morgana. Due to the phenomenon ships moored in the Thermaic Gulf appeared “floating” in the air.A Fata Morgana is a complex form of superior mirage visible in a narrow band right above the horizon and is caused by the temperature reversal of tangential atmospheric layers.

Fata Morgana mirages significantly distort the object or objects on which they are based, often such that the object is completely unrecognizable. A Fata Morgana may be seen on land or at sea, in polar regions, or in deserts. It may involve almost any kind of distant object, including boats, islands, and the coastline.

Often, a Fata Morgana changes rapidly. The mirage comprises several inverted (upside down) and erect (right-side up) images that are stacked on top of one another. Fata Morgana mirages also show alternating compressed and stretched zones.

“Initially it plays an important role that we have absence of wind and the sea is calm. At this time the sea is still quite cold, due to its large heat capacity, so it changes its temperature much more slowly than the wind. In fact, a thin layer of air that is located just above the sea – a few centimeters to a few meters thick – is much colder than the air that is higher “, meteorologist of northmeteo.gr, Stavros Keppas told news website GRTimes.gr.

He explained that when the weather is mild, the seamless interaction between warm supernatant air and the denser cold air near the ground surface can act as a refractive lens, creating a vertically inverted image, on which a remote objects seems to be floating.

Fata Morgana is usually seen in the morning and rarely at noon, after a cold night that results in the escape of heat by radiation into space.

“In this case, we see a ship a little higher than it really is. The image of the ship is typically seen, because essentially the radiation that starts from the ship and reaches our eyes is refracted, because it passes with different densities.” Keppas added.

In addition, objects on the horizon, such as islands, cliffs, ships or icebergs, appear complex, that is, two images of the same object joined upside down at the top.

This phenomenon has occurred in a few parts of Greece, such as the western side of Samothrace./

Finally, the first reference to “Fata Morgana” in English, concerned a similar reflection observed in 1818 in the Strait of Messina, between Calabria and Sicily. The phenomenon belongs to the superior reflections (superior mirage), which are distinguished from the more common inferior mirages (inferior mirage), which create the illusion of distant water holes in the desert and “wet road” in the very hot roads.

PS ages ago we had Fata Morgana mirages while we were driving towards the Salt Lake in central Turkey. We were seeing water on the left and right side of the car, but there wasn’t any in reality. We were a few kilometers before we reached the the start of the lake. It was a truly huh?-experience.

Have you ever seen a Fata Morgana? Please, take part in the poll and share your experience with us in the comments section. Thank you.

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