This Article is From Mar 18, 2021

Viral: Man Spots Ship 'Floating' Across Sky. Here's What Happened

"Saw a real life optical illusion in Banff today," Colin McCallum wrote.

Viral: Man Spots Ship 'Floating' Across Sky. Here's What Happened

In an incredible optical illusion, a ship 'floats' mid-air.

A man in Scotland was stunned when he saw a ship seemingly floating in the air on Friday. Colin McCallum saw the red vessel on the horizon as he travelled through Banff, Aberdeenshire, reports The Mirror. In a photo which he shared on Facebook, the ship appears to be floating a few inches above the surface of water. 

"Saw a real life optical illusion in Banff today," the 23-year-old wrote while sharing the photograph on Facebook, where it has gone viral. Take a look at it below, chances are that it will leave you baffled too:

The post has racked up neatly 2,000 'shares' along with a ton of amazed comments.

"I genuinely can't understand what is going on here," wrote one Facebook user. "That's brilliant," another said. 

Speaking about the remarkable optical illusion, Mr McCallum was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: "When I first saw the boat, I had to do a double-take because I genuinely thought it was floating. 

"Upon further inspection, however, I noticed that it was in fact just a remarkable optical illusion.

"It was caused by a cloud formation closer to the shore which changed the colour of the water closer to the land.

"The boat, being further away, was in a cloudless area and therefore the sky reflected the sea- making it look like the boat was floating."

Optical illusions which show vessels floating above the water are rare, but not unheard of. The phenomenon is known as a fata morgana mirage. According to aviation safety website Skybrary, fata morgana is an incredibly complex mirage caused by atmospheric refraction. It occurs because rays of light are bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures

A fata morgana is a type of superior mirage in which the air below the line of sight is colder than the air above it. Because of temperature inversion, light rays bend down, and so the image appears above the true object - as it happened in this case, where the ship appears above the horizon, rather than sitting on it.

This type of mirage is known as a superior looming mirage.

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