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Question

what is mirage? How is it formed? Explain.


Solution

A mirage is a naturally occurring opcal phenomon in which light rays bend to produce a displaced image of distant objects or the sky. The word comes to English via the French mirage, from the Latin mirari, meaning "to look at, to wonder at". This is the same root as for "mirror" and "to admire".

How do mirages form?

Normally, light waves from the sun travel straight through the atmosphere to your eye. But, light travels at different speeds through hot air and cold air.

Mirages happen when the ground is very hot and the air is cool. The hot ground warms a layer of air just above the ground.

When the light moves through the cold air and into the layer of hot air it is refracted(bent).

A layer of very warm air near the ground refracts the light from the sky nearly into a U-shaped bend. Our brain thinks the light has travelled in a straight line.

Our brain doesn't see the image as bent light from the sky. Instead, our brain thinks the light must have come from something on the ground.

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