Fata Morgana Antarctica

Fata Morgana Antarctica

by Reed Scherer

Heavily distorted by the Fata Morgana mirage phenomenon, “Ivan the Terrabus” carries personnel over the Ross Ice Shelf from the Pegasus Airfield toward the green buildings of Scott Base, the New Zealand Antarctic research station on Ross Island, near McMurdo Station.

The image is unaltered, other than minor cropping of the margins. The mirage is formed by a thermal inversion near the ground, leading to light refraction near the horizon, creating the appearance of an inverted reflection. Further refractive distortion by thermal waves accentuate the distortion.

The image was taken in late afternoon of November 28, 2012, facing east, with a Nikon D300, 200mm Nikkor lens. The Transantarctic Mountains are visible in the background.