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Encyclopedia > Fata Morgana (mirage)

A fata Morgana, named after Morgan le Fay, the faery shapeshifting half-sister of King Arthur, is a mirage, an optical phenomenon which results from a temperature inversion. Objects on the horizon, such as islands, cliffs, ships or icebergs, appear elongated and elevated, like "fairy tale castles". Morgan le Fay, by Anthony Frederick Sandys (1829 - 1904), 1864 (Birmingham Art Gallery): A spell-brewing Morgaine distinctly of Tennysons generation In the mythology of King Arthur, Morgan le Fay, alternatively known as Morgaine, (Morgause , in some versions of the legends, is said to be simply Morgaine in another... In mythology and in fiction, Faerie (also Faery) is an otherworldly realm, home to the Fae or fairies. ... Shapeshifting, transformation or transmogrification is a change in the form or shape of a person, especially: a change from human form to animal form and vice versa a change in appearance from one person to another Although shapeshifting is not believed to be scientifically or medically possible, it is a... King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship in both war and peace. ... A road mirage, a type of inferior mirage A mirage is an optical phenomenon which often occurs naturally. ... An optical phenomenon is any observable event which results from the interaction of light and matter. ... A temperature inversion is a meteorological phenomenon where air temperature increases with height. ...


In calm weather, the undisturbed interface between warm air over cold dense air near the surface of the ground may act as a refracting lens, producing an upside-down image, over which the distant direct image appears to hover. Fata Morgana are usually seen in the morning after a cold night which has resulted in the radiation of heat into space. The first mention of 'Fata Morgana' in English, in 1818, referred to such a mirage noticed in the Strait of Messina, between Calabria and Sicily. It is common in high mountain valleys, such as the San Luis Valley of Colorado where the effect is exaggerated due to the curvature of the floor of the valley canceling out the curvature of the Earth. They may be seen in Arctic seas on very still mornings. A lens is a device for either concentrating or diverging light, usually formed from a piece of shaped glass. ... Satellite photo of the Strait of Messina, taken June 2002. ... San Luis Valley is a large broad alpine valley in south-central Colorado. ...


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  Results from FactBites:
 
Fata Morgana (mirage) at AllExperts (302 words)
A fata morgana, named after Morgan le Fay, the fairy shapeshifting half-sister of King Arthur, is a mirage, an optical phenomenon which results from a temperature inversion.
Fata Morgana are usually seen in the morning after a cold night which has resulted in the radiation of heat into space.
Fata Morgana are superior mirages, which are distinct from the more common inferior mirages, which create the illusion of distant pools of water in the desert and on hot roads.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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