Atmospheric Optics Home     Paranal Sunset Mirage Previous Feature Next Feature Subscribe to Features on RSS Feed

Paranal Sunset Mirage imaged by Stéphane Guisard (images) from ESO Paranal Observatory in the Chilean Atacama Desert. ©St�phane Guisard, shown with permission.

Paranal Observatory, the site of four advanced optically linked 8.2m telescopes, is 2600m high and overlooks the Pacific Ocean 12km to the west.

Temperature inversions, cool air beneath warmer, over the ocean frequently mirage its sunsets to give extreme distortions and green flashes.

Here the sun is seen partially through a highly structured inversion layer to produce a mock-mirage slicing the lower disk into
multiple images.

At top, the stronger refraction of green light compared to red gives the disk its green rim, strengthened slightly by the mirage vertical magnification.