Mirage = An optical phenomenon that creates the illusion of water, often with inverted reflections of distant objects, and results from distortion of light by alternate layers of hot and cool air. Also called fata morgana.
While driving a car on a hot day, you may see a pool of water on the road. But as you approach that particular spot, you find that the pool does not really exits.
The above occurrence is called mirage. It is caused by refraction and total internal reflection.
Mirages normally occur in the daytime when the weather is hot.
The hot air near the ground surface warms the air above it causing a light ray passing through it to be refracted upwards. Because the light ray reaching the viewer's eye appears to be coming from the ground surface, and because the reflected ray follows the same path, an apparent image is seen.
Other inferior Mirage phenomena:
photo source : http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/explain/simulations/inf-mir/Kaplan_photos.html
The miraged image of the Sun's (lower edge).
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