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B.C. resident captures unique visual phenomenon called Fata Morgana

Sunset optical illusion ‘the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen’
A South Surrey resident captured photos of a visual phenomenon called Fata Morgana, taken looking from Crescent Beach toward Tsawwassen and Ladner Thursday (July 6) evening. (Don Pitcairn photo)

A South Surrey resident has captured an interesting visual phenomenon while enjoying the sunset.

A few nights ago, Don Pitcairn was at Crescent Rock Beach – just south of Christopherson Steps (24 Avenue) – with his wife and friends for the evening’s sunset, when a strange, mirage-like image appeared across Mud Bay.

“It’s the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen – my wife goes, ‘What the he** is that?’” he recalled.

The usual skyline looked altered.

“You look across the bay – you see Tsawwassen and you see into Ladner – and there was this thing… it look like a structure, almost a like a Roman aqueduct kind of look, there were all these columns… that’s gotta be some kind of weird mirage,” he said of the optical illusion.

No one had seen anything like it, so Pitcairn said he sent the photos he took to a Global TV producer he knows, and the next thing he knew, “It made (Global TV BC’s) Weather Window!”

READ ALSO: Surrey councillor calls for ‘comprehensive plan’ to ease Crescent Beach parking pain

The phenomenon creates a horizon line on the bottom and a horizon line on top, and everything in between, said Pitcairn.

“You get a temperature inversion and you get a refraction of the light, and what it does, basically, is whatever you see on the horizon, it flips it and sort of takes what you’re looking at and stacks it up. Imagine you have a small-case ‘i’ – it becomes a full-case ‘I.’”

The mirage was visible for about five minutes as the sun was setting.


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Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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