Optical illusions in nature by Leydon Spang

By November 12, 2019

Illusions and illusionists have been around for many years, but one of the finest and most awe inspiring illusionists is Mother Nature. The beauty and scale of the illusions are unmatched by any human, but in this blog I will try to paint a fair picture of some of Mother Natures best.

We’ll start with Horsetail Falls. This peculiar waterfall looks like fire when the light hits it the right way. Another trick with the light called “sun dogs”, is caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere making a smaller version of the sun on both sides. Fata Morgana, is a mirroring effect that has baffled sailors for centuries. It’s caused by a cold air being trapped under a layer of warmer air making ships and cities in the distance appear to be levitating… imagine how frightening that would have been for the sea-men of old. The “green flash”, is an extremely rare flash of light that appears on the rim of the sun for a few brief seconds at sunset or sunrise, it can be best seen in on a clear day when there’s a minimal amount of interference to distort the light. Another illusion very the that is the “halo”; a white ring that sometimes appears around the sun or moon. Crepuscular and anti-crepucular rays are dramatically different looking than the “halo” or “green flash”, but are also caused by the sun. Crepuscular rays are picture perfect rays that steam down from the clouds, anti-crepuscular look basically the same, but appear to be coming from the ground.

Now the finale… some of Mother Natures most dramatic and spectacular performances; “the magnetic hill”, the “Apache head” and of course “the northern lights”. “The magnetic hill”, has the appearance of an ordinary hill, but because of its surroundings when your going down you appear to be moving upwards. The “Apache head” is a sculpture in stone that has the likeness of an Apache chiefs head, that naturally occurred in Ebihens, France. “The northern lights” (or Aurora borealis), probably the best known of the optical illusions, is a great display of Mother Natures capabilities. The bright, dancing, lights of Aurora, are caused by magnetic rays and the solar winds interacting.

Peter Searby

Author Peter Searby

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