Astronomy Picture of the Day for April 15 – A Possibly Titanic Mirage

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 April 15
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Fata Morgana: A Possibly Titanic Mirage
Image Credit & Copyright: Mila Zinkova


 Explanation: Did this mirage help sink the Titanic? The optical phenomenon called Fata Morgana can make strange shapes or a false wall of water appear above a watery horizon. When conditions are right, light reflecting off of cold water will be bent by an unusual layer of warm air above to arrive at the observer from several different angles. A conceptually comparable mirage can make a setting Sun appear strangely distorted or a distant pavement appear wet. One hundred years ago today, such a Fata Morgana mirage might have obscured real icebergs from the clear view of crew onboard the Titanic. Additional evidence for this distortion hypothesis arises from the nearby vessel SS Californian which reported sightings consistent with Fata Morgana mirages. The above Fata Morgana mirage was taken off the US Pacific coast in 2008.


Did You Know……..

Did you know…

From Wikipedia’s newest content:

An orange stone building with a rounded tower in front and large pointy-arched entrance in the middle, partially obscured by trees on either side. In the front right a white car is parked in the street.

  • … that Aspen Community Church (pictured) has the largest pipe organ on Colorado’s Western Slope?
  • … that when James Stewart recited his poem “Beau” on The Tonight Show, he moved host Johnny Carson to tears?
  • … that Cyril Perkins is the oldest living first-class cricketer?
  • … that at Villa de Etla‘s weekly market in Oaxaca, Mexico, one can find traditional merchandise such as a local variety of white cheese, frames for donkeys and goat barbacoa prepared in an earthen oven?
  • … that Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of yams?
  • … that Victoria Roberts received an Australian Bicentennial grant for Australia Felix, a cartoon history of Australia?
  • … that after John Law Hume, violinist on the RMS Titanic, was lost in the disaster, his family were sent an invoice for his uniform?