2012 April 15
Fata Morgana: A Possibly Titanic Mirage
Image Credit & Copyright:
Did this mirage help sink the Titanic?
The optical phenomenon called
Fata Morgana can make
strange shapes or a
false wall of water appear above a watery horizon.
When conditions are right, light reflecting off of cold water will be
bent by an unusual layer of warm air above to arrive at the observer from several different angles.
A conceptually comparable
mirage can make a
setting Sun appear
strangely distorted or a
distant pavement appear wet.
One hundred years ago today, such a Fata Morgana mirage
might have obscured real
icebergs from the clear view of
crew onboard the
Additional evidence for this
distortion hypothesis arises from the nearby vessel
SS Californian which reported sightings consistent with
Fata Morgana mirages.
The above Fata Morgana mirage was taken off the US Pacific coast in 2008.