Mysterious mirage is not UFO, but nature being cool

“This is easily the strangest thing I have ever witnessed in my life,” says the person who captured this weird video taken of an iceberg of the coast of northern Canada. But it has an explanation.

From the YouTube post:

I noticed what appeared to be a chunk of ice just barely attached to an iceberg, hoping to catch it collapse I took out the camera and zoomed in. What you can see is a white object not attached to the iceberg, but rather spinning around and changing shape? There was no fog and it was a perfectly clear day so I’m up for debate. So any ideas what this could be I’m open to all opinions, ufo, illusion or what?

It is strange alright. Nature can pull some tricks on our vision. This has a logical, optical, physical explanation.

Mystery solved: Object over iceberg likely a mirage – Newfoundland & Labrador – CBC News.

Environment Canada’s Rodney Barney says:

“Mirage effect due to marine layer temperature inversion,” Barney said via Twitter, shortly after the video was posted by CBC News.

The ice and cold water near the surface cools that air. Warmer air above creates a temperature inversion. This situation is not typical but is common. The density difference between the cold and warm air layers creates a lens in the atmosphere that refracts light and produces a mirage.

A Fata Morgana is one such kind of optical illusion. Check out this pic of a ship floating above the water. Such an illusion may be the source of the famous “Flying Dutchman” legend. It is common in polar regions. It is also often mistaken for a UFO. So, we can’t blame the guy for being a little freaked out by this view. It’s really neat. Remember, natural explanations may not be so obvious but they do make sense if we know what the conditions might be.

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  5 comments for “Mysterious mirage is not UFO, but nature being cool

  1. Bill T.
    May 27, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    I’m bemused by people that profess surprise when they see atmospheric lensing effects in person. Who hasn’t seen the cartoons with the silly mirage jokes? Or heard of desert travelers reporting seeing castles or cities on the horizon? Where do people think the idea came from? On cold, quiet mornings I see mirages routinely, including wacthing the mountains and hills near the horizon stretching, compressing, having bits separate and disappear into the sky.

    • RayRay
      May 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Look to the right of the object, near the right edge of the video around the 45 second mark, and you can see this effect again, only it appears to be ice falling from no where. Very Cool indeed.

      • Tarrkid
        May 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        I took a photo of a similar example last summer at the beach. I took two photos of the same island from the same location separated only by 15 minutes. The first picture was so weird to me. I’ve know the shape of that island for my entire life, and that morning it was SO different. https://www.flickr.com/photos/13151062@N08/9544190020/

        Also, I think the “ice falling” at the 45 second mark in the video is a bird that was angled differently, then turned (which made it visible) to make a dive. You can see a splash just after it disappears at the horizon line.

      • stephanie
        May 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        I noticed that too, very cool! I would love to see this through a telescope instead of a grainy zoom. Even knowing that mirages can happen, I still think this would have been pretty shocking to witness. Not shocking enough to go straight for the UFO explanation, but pretty curious indeed!

  2. Richard Smith
    May 27, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    “Optical illusion” is just the tip of the iceberg…

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