VIDEO: Mirage Creates Optical Illusion in Michigan’s Keweenaw Bay
You and I both know that the Mitten and the Great Lakes are a magical place. Where else can you see the Northern Lights, the largest freshwater dune system in the world, and mystical mirages in the same place?
Mirages have been known to appear over the Great Lakes when conditions are right--and it turns out conditions were right in the Upper Peninsula's Keweenaw Bay over the weekend!
Adventurist Jason Asselin took a stunning video of an optical illusion called a "superior mirage" that appeared in the southern part of Lake Superior's Keweenaw Bay near L'Anse, Michigan. Of the video Jason says,
The ground was RISING right out of the water to amazing heights, even that boat looked like it was growing too.. This is the second time I've caught something so amazing! It's totally out of this world!
What Makes a Mirage?
Stemming from the Latin word for "mirror", the term "mirage" refers to the reflecting and bending of light. A condition called "temperature inversion" is used to describe conditions which allow warmer air to rise above colder air, thus causing light to bend.
When this temperature inversion takes place over a body of water it means the water temperature below is much colder than the air temperature above. Considering the fact this mirage took place over Lake Superior, I'm not surprised! To say that water is "chilly" is an understatement!
Dr. Mark Rennie, an associate professor in areo-optics at the University of Notre Dame, tells Chicago's ABC57,
A mirage is just a case of atmospheric refraction, it’s caused by the fact you have temperature variations in the atmosphere and these cause density variations...So literally the speed of light varies within the air. And this variation of the speed of light has the effect of bending light rays.
Mirages Over Lake Michigan
I can't recall if I've ever seen this first hand, but I've heard that on certain days when conditions are right over Lake Michigan it is possible to see images of the Chicago skyline from our shores in Michigan--except it's upside down. Strange but true! Have you ever seen a superior mirage with your own eyes?