Thousands of people spotted a strange ghost city hovering over Jiangxi and Foshan, China in October 2015. A video was captured and photos were taken from various angles.
Was it a hoax? Was it an alien city? Was it a project blue beam test run? Or was it some wonky mirage effect that science can easily explain away?
Ding. Ding. Ding.
Strange Days, indeed.
Experts hesitate to say the video is real. “It looks almost too good,” says Peggy LeMone, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
“[But,] if it is real, it’s called a superior mirage, which just means it’s an upward projecting mirage,” says Jill Coleman, an atmospheric scientist at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. It could be something called a fata morgana, she says, which is a certain kind of atmospheric mirage.
To get a fata morgana, you need cold dense air near the ground with a layer of warmer air above it, Coleman says. This is called a temperature inversion, since it’s the reverse of what usually happens in the atmosphere. They usually occur over large bodies of water since the air tends to be relatively cooler close to an ocean or lake surface, but can form over land too.
This kind of layering will bend light rays as they pass from one air mass into the next. Those light rays are bent in such a way that our brains are tricked into thinking an object is higher than it really is.”
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