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Optical Illusion: Tanker in the Air

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by exchemist, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    The picture in this link is quite is quite striking; an oil tanker apparently floating in the sky: Walker 'stunned' to see ship hovering high above sea off Cornwall

    It is caused by a "superior mirage", which is fairly rare, though it sometimes can be seen at the shores of the Great Lakes in N America, I understand.

    Normally the air closest to the surface is warmer than the air above. But when there is a temperature "inversion", you get the air closest to the surface cooler than the air above. Cooler air is denser and light travels through it a tiny bit more slowly than in the warmer air above, causing light rays to curve downward very slightly as they pass through over long enough distances. Your eye, however, assumes the light entering it from a distant object has travelled in a straight line. The result is that it sees the object higher than it really is.

    No doubt in medieval times this would be considered miraculous - not that they had oil tankers then.......;)
     
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  2. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    You say it's an optical illusion.

    I say it's witchcraft.

    We need to round up the crew of that tanker and dunk them in a pond. Better safe than sorry.
     
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  3. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    We actually had a jerk, some time back, that struck a pose of maintaining the earth is flat, using in evidence the image of Chicago that you can (occasionally) see from the far side of the lake, even though Chicago is over the horizon. This is caused by the same effect: The best way to refute the Flat Earth
     
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  4. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus άντρας των αστεριών

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    Another neat example: if you were standing on the surface of Venus (good luck with that), you would see the the sun when it is still completely just below the horizon :)
     
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  5. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Seeing as the surface temperature of Venus is somewhere above the melting point of lead, I wasn't sure whether to give you an "informative" or "funny" frubal for that: funny won by a short head. :D
     
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  6. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Here is a photo I took of Chicago from on board a Polish freighter out in the middle of Lake Michigan. Because the bridge-wing of the freighter is some 5 stories above the water's surface the city does not fall beneath the curvature of the Earth.

    Long Horizon.jpg
     
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  7. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Very nice picture.

    What was a Polish freighter doing in Lake Michigan?
     
  8. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    It was a regular run for the freighter. They bring steel to various lake ports in the U.S. and Canada from the Netherlands, and then take grain from Duluth and Thunder Bay back to ports in the eastern Mediterranean. Usually a couple ships a week make that circuit. I got on in Amsterdam and rode the ship back home to Chicago.
     
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  9. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    So it has to have a narrow enough beam to fit the locks on the Welland Canal, presumably. What size (dwt) was the vessel, do you know?
     
  10. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    It was about 680 feet long by 50 or so wide, as I recall.

    Full On.jpg

    Here we are entering the very first lock on the ST. Lawrence Seaway system. I think it was outside Montreal.
     

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  11. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    How many days from Amsterdam to Chicago?
     
  12. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus άντρας των αστεριών

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    Hah. Yeah like I said, good luck with it. But the atmosphere there is so dense that such an 'illusion' happens (everyday).
     
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  13. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Technically it isn't an illusion, it's a mirage. I.e. what you see is real. An illusion only forms in your mind.
    This is an optical illusion:
    [​IMG]
    Those are 9 dolphins, if you see something other, it's only in your mind, your dirty mind.
     
    #13 Heyo, Mar 5, 2021
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  14. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Why are aliens stealing out tanker?
     
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  15. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    I have, in fact, seen such an optical illusion over Lake Ontario, but only once (I have heard tell of a couple of other sightings). What I saw, much to my amazement, was the skyline of Buffalo, NY, hovering over the lake. (Remarkably, On 25 August 1894, Scientific American records the opposite -- a mirage of Toronto seen from Buffalo, so clearly that Toronto's church spires could be counted easily.)
     
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  16. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    The illusion is of an oil tanker floating in the sky. That's not real.
     
    #17 exchemist, Mar 5, 2021
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  18. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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  19. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Twenty one days. It was a very slow and old ship. But also there were a lot of locks to get through in the St. Lawrence and the Welland Canal. (There's a two-way triple lift set of locks to raise and lower ships over the Niagara Escarpment. That was a trip!) I would have liked to have done the whole circuit, but that's about 78 days and I had to get back to work.
     
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  20. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    She was old and tired even when I was on her, and that was back in the 90s. In fact, we very nearly rammed another ship entering a lock in the Welland Canal because the engine-reverse failed. We had to drop and drag all the anchors to stop the ship before hitting another ship coming out of the lock. :) Here is a photo I took of the ship we very nearly hit.

    Ships Pass.jpg
     
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