Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fata Morgana

Maybe because I am not the most fabulous photographer or because I do not have the cutting edge equipment, I cannot make you see exactly what I see. But, I try. Please, please, please click on the first image and get it bigger on your screen. It is a nice example of the Fata Morgana we had yesterday. That is one of my most favorite things about living up here. It is gorgeous.

In the other image is the same mountain, the one on the right. Enjoy the difference, I do!

Below is a nice explanation lifted from the Weather Doctor at

The Fata Morgana

When the temperature inversion is not as uniform as that found under arctic mirage conditions, a mirage known as the Fata Morgana or halgerndingar (in Icelandic) may appear. In a Fata Morgana mirage, distant objects and features at the horizon appear as spikes, turrets or towers, objects with great vertical exaggeration rising from the surface.

Charles Earle Funk of Funk & Wagnell's Dictionary fame traced the origin of the name Fata Morgana to Italian poets who named what they saw rising up across the Strait of Messina after the fairy castles of Morgana. Literally, Fata Morgana means the Fairy Morgana, a reference to the English legends of King Arthur's enchanted sister Morgana, who dwelled in a crystal castle beneath the sea.

According to meteorologist William J. Humphreys, Morgana is also a Breton word for sea woman which further connects the name with the mirage. He writes of a mirage appearing as crystal palace rising from beneath the waves of the Strait of Messina and

"molding the bluffs and houses of the opposite shore into wondrous castles that, alike, tower into the sky and sink beneath the surface; nor is it strange that this poetic name should become generic, as it has, for all such multiple mirages, whenever they occur." [Physics of the Air, 1920]


Julie Zickefoose said...

the name alone is so beautiful. Thank you for showing me something I'd never dreamt of.

Finny said...

Wow mom I love the top one just look at that one spire rising up! Geeze I should make a poem on that!