The Fata Morgana Effect


via Wikimedia Commons

Example of fata morgana effect in desert

The fata morgana effect is a mirage, which is an optical illusion caused by the atmosphere. They especially appear on a sheet of water, in a desert, or on a hot road caused by light. The first sighting of the fata morgana effect was in 1907 during the Denmark Expedition by the three sailors: Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen, J.P. Koch, and Aage Bertelsen, somewhere in an area in the Arctic. Many years later, in the years 1933-1938, there were more sightings, except they were not only from boats but from planes. They were sighted in the same general area of the first sighting, the northern end of the Greenland Sea. That place was called Fata Morgana Land because of its similar sightings of the fata morgana effect. Most of the sightings are in the polar regions on a very low-temperature sheet of ice or in the desert on a very hot day. In other words, the fata morgana is usually seen in extremely cold or extremely hot weather.

The one significant event that the fata morgana caused is the floating city or island above two parts of China, in October of 2015. The first sighting of the floating city was above Yueyang, China, where about 1 million people caught a glimpse of the amazing sight. A bunch of clouds and fog came up and the cloud’s top parted and all of the people saw the floating “alien city”. A few days later, after the first sighting, the same cloud and fog formed and slowly went away to make the floating city, above Jiangxi, China. There were many reports and theories about the floating city. Some people said it was a paranormal event, like aliens, but almost all of the people said it was a rare optical illusion called the fata morgana effect. The floating city topic went on the news and spread around fast. As people looked at the pictures and videos more closely, they said that the floating city was a partial hoax because the buildings that were in the city were very large. They claimed that air cannot bend that much light to create that large of a mirage. Most people were certain that the floating city was something that was created because of the fata morgana, but a few people still think that the floating city is a hoax because of its size.

An interesting fact in the article “Fata Morgana And UFO Sightings”, is that the fata morgana was and still used to describe a lot of the UFO sightings. In one of the pictures that the author showed the fata morgana effect mirrored only the tip of the original figure, so it looked like something was floating in the air, even though it was just the tip of a tree. People can take one look at the “floating” object and say it is floating, but it actually is not. At the bottom of the article, there are comments and one of them states that the fata morgana is mostly seen in the spring when the air warms up faster.  The fata morgana effect or miraging makes an object in the air look like it is actually floating, but it is actually just an optical illusion.