At the Ocean

Many people I have talked to about mirages can't believe that you can see a mirage on the ocean. As Tim puts it, "When you see a mirage, you see water. How can you see water on water?"

Superior Mirage
North Pacific Ocean
March 4, 1937

On 4th March, 1937, at 2:10 p.m. in Latitude 26° 13' N., Longitude 114° 04'W., a steamer, going the same way, appeared to be upside down. Ten minutes later another horizon appeared above the real one, with a badly distorted image of the ship reaching down and joining the ship funnel-to-funnel. At 2:40 p.m. the horizon astern of the first ship appeared to be breaking up, and the double horizon disappeared, leaving what appeared to be three ships sailing along on top of each other with the middle one inverted (as in last sketch). When, a few minutes later, the ship resumed a normal appearance, she was found to be hull down, with only her mast and upper-works showing above the horizon. The nearer steamer, however, continued to have a sadly elongated funnel for the remainder of the afternoon. No wind, calm sea and slight N.W'ly swell; air temperature 72° F., sea 66 F.

A superior mirage bends light rays that would otherwise sail straight out into space down toward your eye, making the object appear to be above where is really is. For example, you usually can't see a ship that is beyond the horizon. But a superior mirage could make a distant boat appear to hover above the horizon. For another example of a superior mirage, check out the one I saw at Lake Superior.

Surfers spend a lot of time on the ocean. Do they ever see mirages? Click to find out.

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Have you seen a mirage on the ocean? Report it to the Mirage Reporter!

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Why, do I wonder?

Eric the Red

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