A man took photos of what appears to be a floating ship while walking near Falmouth, Cornwall. The first thing which comes to the mind after seeing the image is that it could be something related to aliens or maybe a new technology that is yet to be revealed to the public. But in this case, there is a scientific reason behind the weird image.
The photos have been captured as the result of a rare optical illusion off the coast of England. According to BBC meteorologist David Braine, the "superior mirage" happened due to the "special atmospheric conditions that bend the light".
No Magic, No Alien
Braine said that the illusion captured in the image is common in regions like the Arctic. But such a phenomenon is "very rare" in the UK, especially during winter.
The photographer, David Morris, said that he was "stunned" after capturing the picture while looking at the sea from the hamlet of Gillan, in the parish of St Anthony-in-Meneage, Cornwall, England.
"Superior mirages occur because of the weather condition known as a temperature inversion, where cold air lies close to the sea with warmer air above it," said the meteorologist.
"Since cold air is denser than warm air, it bends light towards the eyes of someone standing on the ground or the coast, changing how a distant object appears," Braine added.
He also explained that superior mirages can create a few different types of images. However, compared to inferior mirage—in which a mirage of an object visible below that object— superior mirage is far more interesting. It is because an object could just be stretched or squeezed vertically or may become double and turned upside down. On some occasions, a second miraging image may become visible—just above the first miraging image.
In 1818, British explorer John Ross saw that "mountains" were blocking his way when he was seeking the Northwest Passage and sailed into the Lancaster Sound. He decided not to go further, but the following year, another explorer William Edward Parry, sailed through those mountains—needless to say, it was a mirage.