mlml logo

nsf logo Powered by Blogger.
Saturday, October 27, 2007: Fata Morgan and Elvis Revived
On Shackleton’s return journey from within 97 miles of the South Pole, they were miles off their course, starving and weak, when by “an almost incredible coincidence the signal flag Joyce had mounted on the depot was raised into sight by a mirage, just in time to save the returning party.” From Shackleton’s Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of The Endurance Epic, by Lennard Bickel.

Fata Morgana (Photo by Bryan Newbold)


I'm cheating here and stealing the next three paragraphs from wikipedia: A Fata Morgana, Italian translation of Morgan le Fay, the fairy shapeshifting half-sister of King Arthur, is a mirage, an optical phenomenon which results from a temperature inversion. Objects on the horizon, such as islands, cliffs, ships or icebergs, appear elongated and elevated, like "fairy tale castles".

In calm weather, the undisturbed interface between warm air over cold dense air near the surface of the ground may act as a refracting lens, producing an upside-down image, over which the distant direct image appears to hover. Fata Morgana are usually seen in the morning after a cold night which has resulted in the radiation of heat into space. They may be seen in Arctic seas on very still mornings, or commonly on Antarctic ice shelves.

Fata Morgana are superior mirages, which are distinct from the more common inferior mirages, which create the illusion of distant pools of water in the desert and on hot roads.

We typically see the Fata Morgana as raised cliffs on the distant shore as we look across McMurdo Sound to Mt. Discovery (2681 m, 8796 ft). My two photos aren't exactly the same scale or color, but hopefully you can see some difference between our Fata Morgana view with mirage cliffs and our non-Fata Morgana view without the cliffs.

Fata Morgana View of Mt. Discovery region
Non Fata Morgana View of Mt. Discovery region

There were some other strange apparitions tonight at the annual McMurdo Halloween party. Here are a few of the fun costumes that we saw!
Cara Sucher, the Crary Lab supervisor, with Bert and Ernie

Elvis revived?

The Toast Busters were a popular group entry

Marcus had his own "scare" today in the dive hole when he thought he'd lost his dive mask. Our dive tender, Allan Timm, was shooting video of Marcus for a VideoRay presentation. Marcus had taken off his mask, taken out his regulator, and was trying to talk with frozen lips. Halfway through the video you can watch him start patting around his head looking for his mask. When the video was done rolling, Marcus looked panicked. "I can't find my mask!"

Stacy crawled down the ladder and started patting around Marcus looking in the icy slush for his mask. Marcus said "I had it in my hand!" and held up his empty left hand. Stacy said "Check your other hand," and there it was! Phew!

Your last excitement for the day is another quiz. Match the wierdest thing that the team brought down in their luggage with the correct team member!

1. Stacy a. a piece of Christo’s gate from NYC
2. Bob b. battery-powered holiday lights
3. Nick c. three bottles of Thai garlic and pepper hot sauce
4. Bryan d. a star-shaped collapsible lamp
5. Marcus e. a cheerleading top
6. Mindy f. flotation material for SCINI

Don't peak below the photo until you've guessed. Below was my personal favorite costume.

Zim Zimmerman wins most creative costume

Answers to Quiz
1. Stacy = lamp
2. Bob = flotation material
3. Nick = cheerleading top
4. Bryan = piece of Christo's gate
5. Marcus = Thai hot sauce
6. Mindy = holiday lights

Hope you all have a great Halloween!

Post a Comment!

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]

This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ANT-0619622 ( Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.