Polar regions can produce some interesting optical effects due to extreme temperatures and/or low sun angles. Yesterday was beautifully calm at Zodiac Camp and an inversion formed (i.e. when air closer to the surface is colder than the air above it – normally air temperatures decrease with altitude). The colder, denser air near the surface has a higher refractive index compared to the warmer (though still cold) and less dense air above it. The difference in refractive index acts like a lens, bending light.
Yesterday’s inversion produced a Fata Morgana; a phenomenon where, to the observer, an image of the underlying surface is mirrored in the air above it. Often it looks like the horizon line is stretched.
|The Fata Morgana can be seen as a white bar (probably as a result of the underling snow and sea ice) on the horizon. The blue line gives a partial outline of the faintly visible Royal Society Range of mountain.|
Reblogged from penguinchasing.blogspot.com