The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

The Floating Mountain (but not of Pandora)

And I am not talking about Avatar here.  I visited the Very Large Array in New Mexico yesterday (blog on that coming).  As I drove west on Highway 60 afterwards, I noticed a peculiar mountain that appeared to be hovering above the ground.

Look at the right and left side of the mountain and notice how they mysteriously don’t touch the ground.  This really is what it looked like visually and is not a trick of the camera.

This mirage is caused by warm air directly above the ground bending the path of light as it comes to you from the mountains.  I will point you to a lengthy but complete explanation from Andrew Young at San Diego State University.

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April 5, 2010 - Posted by | Optics

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