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The UFO Phenomenon

Stunning 'UFO' mirage is an optical illusion

By T.K. Randall
August 8, 2021 · Comment icon 19 comments

This 'UFO' is actually a trick of the light. Image Credit: Facebook / Glacier Bay National Park
Recently uploaded footage shows what looks like a dome-shaped UFO slowly moving along the horizon.
Optical illusions can create some fascinating effects, as evidenced recently by this intriguing clip of a 'UFO' recorded over the chilly waters of Glacier Bay in Alaska.

The video, which is backed by mountains stretching high in the distance, shows what looks like a dome-shaped object floating just above the water and moving slowly towards the left.

Things are not quite as they seem, however.

Known as Fata Morgana, this type of illusion can occur when a layer of warm air sits on top of a layer of colder air (known as a thermal inversion), causing the light to bend as it passes through them.
The resulting effect can be quite striking and has been documented many times over the years.

While it is perhaps most commonly observed at sea, the illusion can occur on land as well - especially in deserts or in the polar regions where it is possible to see a long way into the distance.

Sometimes the object can appear larger or even upside-down in addition to floating in the air.

You can check out the clip for yourself below.

Source: YouTube | Comments (19)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Trelane 3 years ago
I had explained myself in my response but I do understand that comprehension can be degraded when simply having to seem funny or witty is the only purpose of posting. Unfortunately, you're neither.I was addressing your consistent inability to provide anything of worth to the threads you do comment on. That's all, nothing more. back on topic...
Comment icon #11 Posted by OpenMindedSceptic 3 years ago
But you're not on topic. Enjoy your fun life 
Comment icon #12 Posted by XenoFish 3 years ago
When the background sprites of an old video game don't quite render like they used too.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Dejarma 3 years ago
yep, me too- superb
Comment icon #14 Posted by Trelane 3 years ago
Interesting how this effect is created, but it seems more prevalent over bodies over water. I wonder how this was reported prior to being understood.
Comment icon #15 Posted by ChrLzs 3 years ago
The Wiki's pretty good and kinda answers your question.  It's related to the more common mirage, where you see what appear to be pools of water on a hot road in the distance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fata_Morgana_(mirage)  
Comment icon #16 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
Nice, but it's the reflection of what ? Lot of time you see a boat or a part of a town but that reflection look like the mountain in Close Encounters of the Third Kind...
Comment icon #17 Posted by ChrLzs 3 years ago
It's more of a refraction than reflection...    And my understanding is that there are small islands in this body of water between the background scenery and the observation location.  The vertical stretching effect is a part of the refraction process.  I don't really have time now to look that all up and cite it, but if you want I probably can later..
Comment icon #18 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
Tks, so it's probably an island, would be interesting to know the geolocation.
Comment icon #19 Posted by ChrLzs 3 years ago
I had a bit of a lookaround, but am finding it hard to identify the background peaks, and there are a lot of peaks and little islands scattered across this region.  Eg, here's a candidate from 'reviewcruises.net' - pity the clouds are obscuring the mountains behind... When looking at the OP video, take particular note of the foreground water - this camera is actually zipping along.  It's either a drone or possibly on a fast moving boat/ship.  That explains the apparent lateral movement.  Also, look to the left and right of the vertically stretched bit of the island/ufo, and you'll see the... [More]

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