Floating ship clicked off English coast, expert calls it ‘rare phenomenon’

A BBC meteorologist, David Braine, explained the phenomenon and said that “a super mirage” has caused the ship to appear as floating in the air, because of “special atmospheric conditions that bend light.”

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Srivatsan K C, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:37 PM IST

An image of a ship floating in the air has been captured by a man off the English coast near Falmouth in Cornwall country, the BBC reported. Multiple news reports also talked about the bizarre-looking image shared by David Morris. Morris, while speaking to the broadcaster, said that he was “stunned” to see the image of a ship floating in the air.

A BBC meteorologist, David Braine, explained the phenomenon and said that “a super mirage” has caused the ship to appear as floating in the air, because of “special atmospheric conditions that bend light.” “Superior mirages occur because of the weather condition known as a temperature inversion, where cold air lies close to the sea with warmer air above it. Since cold air is denser than warm air, it bends light towards the eyes of someone standing on the ground or on the coast, changing how a distant object appears,” Braine was quoted as saying by the BBC.

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“Superior mirages can produce a few different types of images – here a distant ship appears to float high above its actual position, but sometimes an object below the horizon can become visible,” he added. Braine also noted that such illusions appear “very rarely” in the United Kingdom during winter, but are common in the Arctic.

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A similar image was shared by a Facebook user named Colin McCallum, who also photographed what appeared to be a floating ship, near Banff, Aberdeenshire in Scotland. However, it turned out to be an optical illusion too.

“When I first saw the boat, I had to do a double-take because I genuinely thought it was floating. Upon further inspection, however, I noticed that it was in fact just a remarkable optical illusion,” McCallum said while speaking to the British news outlet Daily Mail in February.

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