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Author Topic: Penglai, China detailed mirage of city
Smaragd
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Hi, all,

A friend just posted a link to this in her blog:

Rare mirage appears in Penglai

To my eye, the mirage looks far too detailed for this to be an authentic photo. I can't imagine how light could bounce and skip around and yet still show so much detail in the resulting mirage.

So, does anybody have insight into this alleged photo? Real, or fake? Can a mirage really show such detail in the buildings?

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YeeMum
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I have been wrong before (and I will be again), but all I see are photos that appear to be taken from the sea while looking at the coastline. If I am missing something please enlighten me.

Thank you.

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Rob D / Blackwolf, the yule dodo
Deck the Malls


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I am a bit sceptic about the pictures. The waves of the "real" landscape appear a bit too "noisy" compared to the clearer image of the mirage.
It more looks like me someone pasted a transparent picture of the cityscape over a shore picture of lesser quality.

but thats just me and I have been known to be wrong before.

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Ganzfeld
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Nothing looks strange to me. I don't know what the doubt about detail is. I don't see much detail at all.
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Troberg
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A mirage can be pretty detailed, but I have never seen one on this scale, almost filling the entire horizon.

As I suspect that the position of the sun is crucial, this makes it somewhat suspect, as the sun would probably be off it's ideal position for most of the mirage.

Still, I don't know enough to have a good opinion on this.

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Drainfluid
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Looks okay to me. The size and scope of the mirage is explained in the title as "rare", so they're not claiming it is a common occurrence.

And the hundreds of people taking photos of it in the last picture suggests that it was pretty remarkable in real life.

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Richard W
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That type of mirage is called a Fata Morgana - there's a fairly detailed explanation and a picture of one in Greenland on that page, and some more photos of them here and here (click Mirages in the frame and then look at the "Superior mirage" links).

None of the other examples I've looked at are that clear, or that far removed from the source of the image.

This does raise the question of which city it's a mirage of. It would have to be the image of a city below the horizon. Penglai is on a peninsula in the north east of China, facing northwards. Comparing that with a larger map, it's across a relatively narrow strait from the city of Dalian on an opposite peninsula, which would meet the criteria and suggest that Dalian is a candidate for the city in the mirage image.

It would seem the channel is about 100km wide, which must make this a pretty exceptional occurence - then again, they say it's exceptional...

(edit) Here's a page (Google cache) that talks about the mirage as one of the rare but spectacular sights of Penglai. It also mentions that similar mirages can be seen in Dalian, but it doesn't clarify whether the cliffs and city in the mirage are Dalian or not.

Here's an account of a previous appearance:

quote:
Around 4.30 p.m. on July 29, 1984 there appeared all of a sudden in the sea a colossal mountain about one kilometre long that had never been known to exist before.At the foot of the mountain,lying north to south,are a number of buildings of its height. The walls are white-washed and the trees on the slopes were a lush green. Meanwhile a thin fog was swirling on the sea. … At 4.50 p.m., the scene changed. A mountain now appeared on the sea with clouds hovering at the peak and flatlands at the foot where houses with chimneys stood. A little to the south there then flickered into view two killocks with rounded tops. From 5.06 to 5.07 blocks of highrises first shimmered and then disappeared while a five-story building rose at the foot of the hill on the left, its chimneys belching smoke…

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Smaragd
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Thank you all for the replies, but especially to Richard. Like just about everybody, I've seen "inferior mirages" before -- what looks like shimmering water on the highway. It's fascinating to learn about "superior mirages." What really amazes me is that the light can travel in such a way that it shows so much detail as we see in those photos -- individual buildings, even windows and columns. I had a hard time imagining how light could be refracted and yet still show such a clear picture.

But I thought then of a similar phenomenon that I'm more familar with: the gravitational lens in astronomy, where a massive body refracts light and causes a galaxy to appear to be slightly in the wrong place, or even reveals an astronomical body which might otherise be obscured. It works in that cosmic-scale example, so why not also in atmospheric light-refraction right here on Earth?

So thanks all, especially Richard for the info and great links. I guess the mirage in Penglai was probably real, as amazing as it seems to me!

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Dave Ward
http://www.daveward.net

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Richard W
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That's OK!
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Captain_Pizzapasta
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
[QB] That type of mirage is called a Fata Morgana

The Fata Morgana phenomenon is relatively common on Sicily's coasts; in fact "Fata Morgana" is the italian for "Morgana the Fairy", because in ancient times people thought that the mirage was a fairy's magic palace. And, yes, I can assure you it can be quite detailed.

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spe934
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Am I missing something? Is the mirage really just a view around the curvature of the earth of a city on the other side of the water? The city that you can see exists, right? I guess I haven't ever really done much research into mirages, and most of my knowledge comes from cartoons and movies.

So really it isn't a "fake" image ones brain is thinking it is seeing, it is just a view of the city that would normally not be viewable due to the curvature of the earth, right?...

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Joostik
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quote:
Originally posted by spe934:
The city that you can see exists, right?

The city exists, at least the lower part of what you see. If you look closely you can see (most of) the upper part is mirrored.
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Neffti Noel
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Thank you Richard W for a fascinating post, which has not only given me something to impress my passengers with when the motorway goes wibbly, but also finally given me a good explanation for the "UFO" I once saw off the Devon coastline - the looming mirage of a distant car covers it nicely.
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kehbrt
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Everything we see is light reflected/refracted off of something into our eyes, so it might not be that surprising for an image to be refracted that "clearly" in the sky when you consider how clearly we perceive high-definition images in general. It's like using a mirror to look around a corner.
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Ganzfeld
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quote:
Originally posted by kehbrt:
Everything we see is light reflected/refracted off of something into our eyes

[Nitpick] Well, not everything. There are such things as illuminants, after all, the things that "make" the light: the sun, your TV screen, a lightbulb, a firefly, etc. I suppose you could say that it refracts off the air but that's reaching a bit.

Welcome to the board kehbrt!

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