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Thread: Reflection of sky mirage on a hot road

  1. #1 Reflection of sky mirage on a hot road 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Hi everyone,

    Is the following explanation correct?

    On a sunny day the surface of the road and the air just above it get very hot. The air just above that is fairly cool in comparison. Now, light travels faster through warm air than it does through cold air because warm air is less dense. Hence, when light hits that hot air just above the road surface at a certain angle, it changes speed and is bent upward. As a result, the light that hits your eye shows you a patch of sky where the road should be, an inferior mirage


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  3. #2  
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    Isn't that the reason why you see "heat waves" when looking at the pavement on very hot days.

    Or why in a desert the sky sometimes it seen as a patch of water?

    Seems accurate to me, but I would like to have confirmation from more veteran users on this forum before coming to a conclusion.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor astromark's Avatar
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    Almost completely correct... The appearance of a 'Mirage' is the refraction of light as it passes through differences of air temperatures.. A change of densities. A refraction is not a change due to light speed.. Just a angle of refraction.
    A telescope when focused on a near to horizon object suffers from atmospheric aberration.. It's a issue..
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  5. #4  
    KJW
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Hi everyone,

    Is the following explanation correct?

    On a sunny day the surface of the road and the air just above it get very hot. The air just above that is fairly cool in comparison. Now, light travels faster through warm air than it does through cold air because warm air is less dense. Hence, when light hits that hot air just above the road surface at a certain angle, it changes speed and is bent upward. As a result, the light that hits your eye shows you a patch of sky where the road should be, an inferior mirage
    A mirage is a total internal reflection.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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