Mirages

Mirage

by Duane Ausherman

McMurdo Station is on the Southern end of Ross Island.  Looking west, the mainland is about 50 miles away, and the mountains are often crystal clear.

On my first weekend there, I was with a new friend who had been very helpful in explaining things about “the ice.”  I looked out the frozen bay and the clutter of icebergs floating.  They were closer than the mountains, so they were even clearer.  He explained that those icebergs were illusions.  I expressed my doubts that something so big and clear could be an illusion.  He asked, “Did you see those icebergs yesterday?”  He had me there, as the bay was frozen, so how could they move in.  He told me, “Just wait an hour, and they will be gone.” and they were.  There was no way that they could have floated out of the frozen bay.

Yesterday, we again had mirages.  Now they looked like large cliffs, but a little closer than the mountains.  Now I wish that I had a camera with a telephoto lens.  I am not much of a shutterbug, but this would have been worth shooting.

I assumed that a mirage is a reflection of something behind the illusion, but nothing behind the illusion looked similar.

Updated 15 Nov. 2019