"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Not Hapuna Matata, but Fata Morgana

Leaving Anchorage at sunset a couple days ago, I was treated to two optical phenomena.    The first was alpenglow, which is seen on the horizon opposite the sunset.

In the above photo, the mauve color on the mountains and above it is alpenglow.

A few miles down the road, near Potter, the sunset was well into its show.   The mountains far across Cook Inlet had looked peculiar to me as I was driving into Anchorage several hours earlier,but once I arrived in town and went about my errands, I forgot about them.

My primary focus was on the intense colors reflected on the water in between the ice floes in Turnagain Arm.

Across Cook Inlet, Mt. Redoubt stood in splendor.

It was then that I again noticed the unusual silhouettes in the mountain range across the water.     The mountains don't look like that, I thought.

No, they don't, because I was seeing a classic mirage known as a fata morgana.

No, these are not crisp photos you're looking at.    That's a mirage, people.   In the foreground, the brilliant orange is reflected on water between large masses of ice as the tide moves out of Turnagain Arm.

Wikipedia can describe to you the science behind this mirage.   I give you the color.

Finally, things got back to normal as the sunset ebbed and I drove towards the end of Turnagain Arm.

1 comment:

  1. I have, in my almost 54 Alaska years, never seen a Fata Morgana before ... fascinating. Also, just nice to see some familiar mountains from home! Hugs. Patti and Cap