Lunar Mirage and Cruise Ship

April 01, 2021


Photographer: Marco Meniero 
Summary Authors: Marco Meniero; Jim Foster

Shown above is a lunar pedestal that resulted from a lunar mirage (Etruscan Vase or omega mirage) observed over the Tyrrhenian Sea, near Rome, Italy. It’s juxtaposed here with a gayly painted cruise ship. Mirages such as this are caused by atmospheric refraction that occurs when light traverses an unusually warm layer of air lying immediately above the sea surface. In order to view these sorts of distortions, however, the temperature variation from the surface of the sea to a level perhaps 50 ft (15 m) or so above it must be quite remarkable. If you look closely you can also detect earthshine. Photo taken on January 17, 2021.

Photo Details: Eos 1DxmK2 camera; Canon EF 400 lens; 2..8 + 1.4X; equivalent focal is 900.