Superior mirage (w-646-06)

In gallery: Photos of the month (2005)
Related photos: Atmospheric optics Atmospheric refraction Superior mirages

A fine superior mirage of a distant mountain range, visible in the radiation inversion that formed overnight in New Mexico (USA). Superior mirages are not very common, but do occur on several mornings in desert climates such as the southwest of the USA, since the dry weather allows for substational radiative cooling near ground overnight. This cooling can create a sharp temperature inversion, in which superior mirages are possible.

Photographed on the morning of September 15 near Socorro, New Mexico. The camera (Nikon FE with Fujichrome Provia 100F) was mounted on an 8-inch f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.