WHAT MAKES A SHIP HOVER?

iD magazine - - Body & Mind -

On a hot, wind­less day at the beach, you might start to see some ships on the hori­zon that look like they’re fly­ing. This is not an op­ti­cal il­lu­sion, but rather a phys­i­cal phe­nom­e­non: When a layer of hot air lies di­rectly on top of a cold- air layer as part of a tem­per­a­ture in­ver­sion, the light rays get bent— sim­i­lar to light re­fract­ing as it en­ters clear wa­ter. Ob­jects that are at or even be­low the hori­zon vis­ually move up­ward, and a mi­rage is born.

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