Monday, March 3, 2014

Fata Morgana

A Fata Morgana is a rare phenomenon that distorts objects on the horizon.  It is a cousin of the "water mirage" people often see on the highway as they are walking or driving along it in the heat.  It is also the origin of the Flying Dutchman myth, where a mysterious ship was often seen by sailors at sea, floating in the air above the horizon.

It only happens when there is a strong inversion layer, which somehow elevates and/or distorts what is seen on the horizon to look higher or more stretched out than it is.

We are lucky to live at about 1300 feet, which is the exact level of a strong inversion layer a few days a year.

On this day, we got to see a Fata Morgana when we awoke, with the mountain range to the west of us looking completely differently than it normally does.

Normal morning.

Same view with Fata Morgana distortion.
Doesn't really have much to do with homesteading, except that when you're outside working your land on a regular basis, you notice stuff like this.  If I still worked in a classroom or office I wouldn't have ever seen it.  Homesteading doesn't pay particularly well, but does have its advantages I guess.


  1. That is crazy! I've never heard of that! Interesting that it is not just a distortion to the eye but to the camera as well.
    And what a gorgeous view...either way! The second view looks more Southwestern.

  2. It does! When I woke up and saw it, I got my husband and said, "Look! We relocated to the Painted Desert overnight!" It also looked exactly the same through high powered binoculars, in short, if you hadn't seen the horizon ever before, you'd have no indication this was a mirage, which is why the Flying Dutchman must have been feared so truly looked like a tall, stretched out ship sailing along in the sky.