At the lake

Superior Mirage
On the shore at Lake Superior
Near Tofte, Minnesota
July 6, 1997

I walked down to the shore of Lake Superior to try to build up an appetite for lunch. I could just pick out the faint shape of an ore boat on the faint horizon. I aimed my camera at the boat (which I could barely see through the view finder), and went to sleep on the rocks. While I napped, my camera picked up the most amazing superior mirages. One almost looks like a triple image! The water was smooth (unusual for Lake Superior); air temperature approximately 55°; lake temperature very cold, light winds.

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. So, a superior mirage could make an image of a ship that is below the horizon appear above the horizon.

Here's what it looked like when I watched the tape on our television. The boat mirage is in the center of the screen; the cat is on top of the television. I tried to draw the mirage darker so you could see it better.

I have seen mirages at Lake Superior, but never at a smaller lake. I have read that you can sit and watch mirages distort objects on the opposite shore for hours at a time.

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