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Mirages & Mirages

Sets of sunset images taken over the Baltic from northern Poland by Lukasz Sujka.

Mirages have split the sinking sun into weird shapes.  Several green flashes show  above the horizon and finally close to the sea itself.

Green or blue flashes and sunset mirages come in several guises.  There are are two main types – ‘mock-mirages’ and ‘omega mirages’.  Here both mix to show that Nature adds twists to our attempts at classification and simplicity. See animation.

Omega sunsets or mirages are where a new sun rises from the horizon as the upper sun descends.  The two merge to a green flash almost on the horizon.  Lukasz’s second set of images (below) taken a month earlier show this classical behaviour.   Warm sea heated air beneath cooler air produces them.

Mock mirages are more complicated.  Several sun slices rise and descend simultaneously.   The green flashes are above the horizon. They are faint and transient.  They show up in photographs but are less easily seen visually.   It’s dangerous to look for them as the sun is still above the horizon.  One or more  temperature inversions generate mock-mirages.

All images ©Lukasz Sujka, shown with permission

A mock-mirage sunset taken a day after the topmost set of images.

A classical 'Omega' or 'Etruscan vase' miraged sunset with a final green flash just above the horizon.