Tag Archive: optics

A rare green flash photographed from Ocean Beach, California.

A sun halo over Ostersund, Sweden, by photographer Goran Strand.

This sunset was filmed from San Francisco on May 20, 2017. It produced some unusual green flashes. They were unusual because they lasted a second or two longer than they usually do and because at one point there were four green flashes at once. Sadly they were not bright because it was foggy, but still…

The video was watched by Dr. Andrew Young. He writes: “Yes — not only interesting, but very pictorially attractive. Well, there were many inversions; and waves on just about all of them.The scattered light in the haze diluted the color of the green flashes. The very flat top at 3:05 to 3:10 probably marks the top of the strongest inversion. This sunset is unusual in having so many mock-mirage features; I suppose you were at your usual height above sea level. Normally so many mock mirages would require a much higher camera position. I suppose this means the inversions were due to internal boundary layers produced in the offshore flow.”

“Etruscan Vase Over the Estuary” in Tankerton, Kent, UK, by photographer Brendan Conway. This is an example of Fata Morgana.

“Ghost Under the Cliff,” a Brocken spectre in Tavertet, Barcelona, Spain, by photographer Emili Vilamala Benito.

“Fire Rainbow” (aka iridescent clouds) are created by an optical effect called a circumhorizontal arc.

“Floating City” Debunked

Captain Disillusion soars above the rest with a thorough explanation, deconstruction, and recreation of the ‘Mysterious Floating City Over China’ video. Also see my earlier video about the fata morgana optical effect here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Xmrn2IuSW-Q

The forest reflected in a dewdrop.

Fata Morgana is a complex form of superior mirage that is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon. It can make distant ships, buildings, or land masses appear to be floating in the air.


Destin of SmarterEveryDay discovers some cool optical effects and learns about total internal reflection, which is what makes fiber optic cable work.


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