Long ago, in the days of the glorious king Arthur, there lived a wicked and treacherous fairy Fata Morgana. She was able to build magnificent castles, palaces, near which was babbling fountains, and lured there the weary travelers. Seeing these palaces, wayfarers, as if spellbound, was turned out of the way, and a wonderful vision after a while disappeared. And Fata Morgana enjoyed watching the great astonishment of the people.
Much water has flowed under the bridge since that distant time. King Arthur became a legend, Yes many people do not believe; that he lived actually. But Fata Morgana continued and continued his jokes, not giving a reason to doubt their existence. Here are just a few examples that have left documentary evidence of the witnesses...
In 1684 and 1908 in the Irish sea twice appeared unknown to geographers island, which, as could be seen from the shore, stood a large and beautiful city. But soon the island was gone as suddenly as it appeared.
In 1762 sailors whaling ship "Aurora" was seen in the Atlantic ocean near the Falkland Islands, some new unknown lands, which, in honour of his ship called the Aurora Islands. Believing the message of the sailors, geographers even got them on the map, but later in the specified location of these Islands, no one has.
Residents of the côte d'azur France also happened more than once to watch in the Mediterranean sea on the horizon appear distant mountains some of the big island, and then completely dissolved in the air...
All these and some other similar jokes and just tries his hand Fata Morgana. However, insidious witch likes to fool people not only non-existent Islands. Sometimes it can be arranged directly in the air... a military parade.
In 1785, for example, according to eyewitnesses, unknown troops twice marched over the Polish region of Silesia.
In 1848, the same case happened near Vienna. About this incredible case, then even the Newspapers wrote.
And Fata Morgana sometimes shows flying high above the earth, sailing with crew on Board. Very often these flying ships somehow appeared in the 90-ies of the XIX century. Then an American Charles Fort wrote the book "a New earth", where he argued that it ships... unknown intelligent beings from other planets.
Are the fairies and smaller tricks. Some of them happen, for example, on a paved highway. If you go it clear Sunny day, at some moment may suddenly seem ahead of asphalt covered with puddles. However, it is necessary to drive closer, puddles disappear and reappear far ahead to later disappear...
However, for scientists all these tricks sorceress had not miracles. Now let's look at what happens...
The air enveloping the Earth our atmosphere is like a layer cake, and the temperature of the layers is different. Different pass through each of the air layer and the rays of the sun. The greater the temperature difference, the stronger is bent their way, and the direction of this curvature from warmer layers to cool.
Layers of air can be compared with huge lenses with different refractive indices of the light. The layer at the very bottom, it heats up hot on a hot day asphalt and therefore has the smallest refractive index is no light passes through it and is reflected.
So far on the road we see... the reflected sky, creating the illusion of water on the pavement.
Of course, this is not always the case. Because "air lens" should be located so that light rays passing through them and they would be created on the road Mirage of the sky. And this requires the addition of many conditions - temperature, time of day, light...
And how to explain the appearance of the mountains near the French Riviera? Yes the same atmospheric layers "pie". Not only do they have different temperature with height is reduced and the density of air. Just imagine: rays of light fell on the mountains lying far beyond the horizon from the French coast of the island of Corsica, is reflected from them and flew up. But, changing the direction of a reduction in density, they, in the end, go down again, but in the opposite direction. And on the Cote d'azur you can see the mountains reflected in the next heaven "lens".
For clarity, you can conduct a little experiment. With one side of the table build on the floor with blocks castle. While they themselves sit on a chair on the opposite side so that the lock is on the floor was not visible. Now if someone would take the mirror and raise it above the castle, expanding slightly in your direction, you will see a castle reflected. The mirror in this very simplified, but a visual experience played a role heavenly lens-reflector.
However, the puddles on the pavement is still a simple form of Mirage. The mountains of Corsica, "pop-up" close to the côte d'azur, in General, too. But the most complex mirages are called Fata Morgana. Speaking the language of science, Fata Morgana is a "complex optical atmospheric phenomenon consisting of several forms of mirages. While distant objects are seen repeatedly and with a variety of distortion".
In short, the more complex the form of the atmospheric lens, the prichudlivee air Ghost. Besides, the weather is rarely calm. The lens can be moved to flip the image, to impose its parts to each other or, conversely, to multiply. Fata Morgana is able, for example, to transform a horizontal surface in an upright wall, and then the ships, cities, people "ascend" to heaven.
Here and appear before the eyes of shocked spectators incredible pictures like flying under the clouds of ships.