Sightings of a ‘floating city’ over China explained


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Floating City Spotted Over Foshan City China 

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A video of a mysterious cityscape in the clouds hovering over the Chinese city Foshan has gone viral this week.
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floatingcity_00_00_3476918b-300x187The footage which was recorded by a local resident, appears to show a huge city floating in the clouds.The apparition which was witnessed by hundreds of shocked local residents, only lasted a few minutes before completely disappearing.

Explanations for this startling video ranged from a secret NASA project, to a parallel universe, to an elaborate hoax to an actual atmospheric phenomenon.

But what was it?

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The Science of Mirages

ti_graphics_floating-city-mirage

The atmosphere can play fascinating tricks on our brains

A Fata Morgana is a type of mirage that distort distance objects, and can be can be seen on land or sea.

It’s caused when the sun heats up the atmosphere above the land or oceans, which creates a gradient of temperatures.

The air close to the surface is relatively cool and above that are layers of warmer air.

When light hits a boundary between two layers of the atmosphere that are different temperatures – and as a result different densities – it bends and travels at a different angle.

Our brain assumes that light travels in a straight paths, so when it bends, we think the object is where it would be if the light’s path runs straight.

A Fata Morgana is most commonly seen in polar regions, especially over large sheets of ice which have a uniform low temperature. It can however be observed in almost any area. In polar regions the Fata Morgana phenomenon is observed on relatively cold days, however in deserts, over oceans, and over lakes, a Fata Morgana can be observed on hot days.

A Fata Morgana can be observed from any altitude within the Earth’s atmosphere, from sea level up to mountain tops, and even including the view from airplanes

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Basic diagram of the optical illusion. Light refracting upwards results in an inferior mirage. Light refracting downwards results in a superior mirage.

A basic diagram of the optical illusion. Light refracting upwards results in an inferior mirage. Light refracting downwards results in a superior mirage.

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In the video below you’ll see some more examples of mirages.

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More info 

Fata Morgana
Mirage
Optical illusions
Optical Phenomena

You may also like to read about these optical illusions

Have you heard of Pareidolia?
Plane crash, whale tail, rock, underwater volcano or Optical Illusion?

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