• English
  • Deutsch
  • Español

Fata Mallorca

There's a fantastic photo of Mallorca which has been doing the rounds of the social media

There's a fantastic photo of Mallorca which has been doing the rounds of the social media (Twitter and Facebook) this week. It was taken by Alfonso Puertas  who is a technician at The Fabra
Observatory in Barcelona which, as you can imagine, is located high above the city – 413 metres to be exact, on Mount Tibidabo – to get the best views for its work on astronomy and meteorology.

As you can see, the photo shows the mountains of the Sierra Tramuntana region of Mallorca in the haze of the distance. Wonderful when you consider that they're around 100 miles away!

In fact, it's more than wonderful, it's impossible because the curvature of the Earth's surface means that even from on high, the mountains are below the line of the horizon and can't be seen.

What has happened here is a meteorological effect known as Fata Morgana (that's a mirage to you and me) where rays of light are bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures
which act like a prism. It's an optical phenomenon which occurs when there is a thermal inversion, a rare event when warm air exists above cool air – normally the warmer air is closer to the
Earth's surface than the cooler air.

Nevertheless, it's still a great photo and worth showing on our pages and our thanks go to Alfonso for its use.