Distortion of the Setting Moon and Lower Mock Mirage

August 12, 2022



Photographer: Lorenzo Busilacchi  

Author: Lorenzo Busilacchi 

As shown above, the atmosphere acts to flatten the apparent lunar disk when it’s on or close to the horizon. This photo was captured at Porto Ottiolu, Sardinia. Light emanating from the bottom of the Moon passes through more of our atmosphere when it’s closer to the horizon than does light from the upper reaches of the Sun. The Sun's bottom is thus refracted upwards a greater amount than at the top - this holds for all celestial objects as they approach the horizon. Note also the lower mock mirage, caused by a sharp temperature inversion, which further exaggerates the shape of the lunar disk. Photo taken on May 15, 2022.


Porto Ottiolu, Budoni, Sardinia, Italy Coordinates: 40.7374, 9.7079

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