A South Surrey resident has captured an interesting visual phenomenon while enjoying the sunset.
A few nights ago, Don Pitcairn was at Crescent Rock Beach – just south of Christopherson Steps (24 Avenue) – with his wife and friends for the evening’s sunset, when a strange, mirage-like image appeared across Mud Bay.
“It’s the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen – my wife goes, ‘What the he** is that?’” he recalled.
The usual skyline looked altered.
“You look across the bay – you see Tsawwassen and you see into Ladner – and there was this thing… it look like a structure, almost a like a Roman aqueduct kind of look, there were all these columns… that’s gotta be some kind of weird mirage,” he said of the optical illusion.
No one had seen anything like it, so Pitcairn said he sent the photos he took to a Global TV producer he knows, and the next thing he knew, “It made (Global TV BC’s) Weather Window!”
Rare optical illusion Thurs evening over Mud Bay, looking out from Crescent Beach.
A temperature inversion caused refraction of the light from Tsawwassen; making strange columns appear instead of the flatter land. It's called Fata Morgana.
Photo by Don Pitcairn@GlobalBC pic.twitter.com/T7Mt9WJYEB
— Kristi Gordon (@KGordonGlobalBC) July 8, 2023
The phenomenon creates a horizon line on the bottom and a horizon line on top, and everything in between, said Pitcairn.
“You get a temperature inversion and you get a refraction of the light, and what it does, basically, is whatever you see on the horizon, it flips it and sort of takes what you’re looking at and stacks it up. Imagine you have a small-case ‘i’ – it becomes a full-case ‘I.’”
The mirage was visible for about five minutes as the sun was setting.