Superior Mirage Near Phoenix, Arizona
January 19, 2014
Photographer: Stan Celestian; Stan's Web site
Summary Author: Stan Celestian
The photo above shows what looks to be an alien landscape on Interstate 10, a little west of Phoenix Arizona, near the town of Buckeye. It was taken on the morning of January 9, 2013. The rather indistinct, flat-topped ridge line in the background is a superior mirage. These kinds of mirages are fairly common on cold, calm winter mornings in desert areas. Overnight radiational cooling produces a dense cold layer of air near the ground. The cold air layer acts as a lens to refract sunlight downward so that objects beyond the normal horizon can be seen, albeit distorted. Note, however, that foreground and mid-ground objects show no distortion. Photo taken on January 9, 2013.
Photo details: Camera Model: Canon PowerShot D20; Lens: 5.0-25.0 mm; Focal Length: 25mm; Focus Distance: 11.1m; Aperture: f/4.8; Exposure Time: 0.0031 s (1/320); ISO equiv: 100.