Fata Morgana – a “Superior Mirage”

Ship appears to be hovering above sea. Courtesy Wikimedia.org by Timpaanen

Ship appears to be hovering above sea. Courtesy Wikimedia.org by Timpaanen

For centuries, people have claimed to see ships floating in the waters or even in the air, but later disappear. Also, for centuries, people claimed to see cities floating in the air that eventually disappeared.

We now know such eerie phenomena have actually occurred and can be scientifically explained. Such wondrous feats can be based on mirages. Mirages are optical illusions of real things and are not hallucinations. Unlike hallucinations, mirages can be photographed.

Under certain conditions involving light, heat, and the atmosphere; images of real objects can be refracted by sunlight and appear in an area far away from the actual location of the object. A person sees the reflected image but does not know it s a naturally projected image and wrongly assumes it is the object itself.


There is a mirage which is called a “Fata Morgana” which is a type of “superior mirage”. It is created when cold denser air at the surface bends light reflected from a distant object downward. Our brains misinterpret the object as being seen as though its reflector light came straight in front of us. The object appears higher than it actually is and often times appears to be floating in the middle of the air or in mid sky.

The legend of the “Flying Dutchman Ship” could be based on sailors on the high seas having viewed a Fata Morgana of such a ship.  As a person seems to get closer and closer to the reflected object, after the conditions for the natural projection cease, the object disappears.

An interesting thought is that people who saw a city floating in the sky, as travelers on a holy pilgrimage, may have thought they actually saw the “Kingdom of Heaven” through experiencing a spiritual vision.

For more information:


19 Responses

  1. Wow….this is a good internet site.

  2. Wow, this piece of writing is fastidious, my sister is analyzing such things, so I am going to let her know.

  3. Surprisingly pleasant website. Immense info offered on few clicks too.

  4. Wow….such a valuable web page.

  5. What’s up? Very good web site you’ve gotten right now.

  6. Great looking internet site. Presume you did a bunch of your very own coding.

  7. I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  8. Thanks, this website is extremely useful.

  9. Ione Tayse says:

    Sustain the outstanding job !! Lovin’ it!

  10. Wow because this is a great job! Congrats and keep it up.

  11. Arica Gaulin says:

    Great stuff here!!

  12. Thanks for furnishing these great subject material.

  13. Quite helpful….look forwards to returning.

  14. Really great job! Keep writing new posts.

  15. Rodrigo Romberger says:

    Wonderful! Please post more stories like this one..

  16. Wow, superb weblog structure! How lengthy have you been running
    a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The full look of your
    website is wonderful, let alone the content!

  17. What’s up to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this webpage; this website carries awesome and truly good information in support of visitors.

  18. I have recently started a blog, the information you offer on this website has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

%d bloggers like this: