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Photo captures cruise ships ‘hovering’ in air off Limassol

optical mirage off limassol (facebook michalis michael)
Photo from Kitasweather Facebook page.

A photo of three cruise ships off Limassol that appear to be hovering in the air generated keen interest on social media on Wednesday, with both the person who took it and a weather expert referring to a mirage or Fata Morgana.

Michalis Michael posted photo on the Kairofiloi Kyprou (weather enthusiasts of Cyprus) groups on Facebook, showing three cruise ships in the sea east of Limassol hovering over the water.

Michael said a Fata Morgana mirage was seen off east Limassol in the morning.

Weather expert Eric Kitas said this was a superior mirage, observed when there is a thermal inversion, something that was observed in the early morning hours due to the cooling of the air near the sea surface while at the same time, a warmer mass is located just above the surface.

According to Kitasweather hot air is not as dense as cold air while at the same time, the speed of light propagation in cold air is slower than in hot air and the refractive index of cold air is higher. This, it said, results in the phenomenon of refraction, which gives the illusion that an object is in a higher position than normal (and therefore appears to be suspended).

Photo from Kitasweather Facebook page.

 

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