Desert Mirage

Desert Mirage

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Credit: DAMIEN LOVEGROVE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Desert Mirage. A large mirage glimmers in the heat of the desert sun, casting reflections of the mountains beyond it. A mirage is an atmospheric phenomenon caused by the differential heating of layers of air. As air warms up, it expands, and this affects its refractive index. Light rays slanting down from a cool layer of air to a hot layer (such as one in contact with hot ground) will be be refracted to a shallower angle. If the angle is sufficiently shallow, the light rays are refracted so that they appear to be reflected upwards. Therefore a mirage gives an image of the sky and any scenery behind it. Photographed in the Western Desert, Egypt.

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Keywords: atmospheric effect, climate, desert, effects, meteorology, mirage, weather

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