Fata Morgana is a superior mirage featuring the characteristics of vertical magnification and exaggeration. This attention-getting display lasted for several hours. It was viewed from about 13 ft (4 m) above sea level.
The wind was calm and the air temperature was 42 degrees F (6 C). Ice-strewn seas cooled the air in contact with it, forming a temperature inversion; a colder air layer beneath warmer air. When such atmospheric conditions are encountered, upward moving light rays from distant objects are refracted downwards by the different density air layers.
To our eyes, the miraged object appears to be floating in the air. The direction of refraction is to curve rays towards denser, colder, air. Photo taken on August 17, 2009. Summary Author: Joan Cubells