Rowbotham was a victim of a superior mirage. When flat-earthers hear this, they normally respond by dismissing this as impossible, because mirages supposedly are inverted images, but Rowbotham saw the boat right side up the entire time. However, this confuses superior and inferior mirages. What is the difference? First we must discuss the physics of light a bit.
One of the most common objects reflected in this way is blue sky, which our brains interpret as light reflecting off a body of water. The reflected image appears below the object, which is why we call this an inferior mirage. The layer of warm air near the surface acts much like an ordinary mirror. As a mirror reverses direction left to right, an inferior mirage reverses direction from top to bottom (you see the same thing with a mirror if you tilt your head 90 degrees and look at reflections in the mirror.) The reversal happens because light from the top of a distant object will reflect closer to the observer than light from the bottom of the object. Therefore, inferior mirages usually appear inverted. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon, solar heating of the ground is not nearly as great, so inferior mirages are less likely to happen then. The same is true during autumn and winter when the sun is much lower in the sky.
78) From Anchorage, Alaska at an elevation of 102 feet, on clear days Mount Foraker can be seen with the naked eye 120 miles away. If Earth were a ball 25,000 miles in circumference, Mount Foraker’s 17,400 summit should be leaning back away from the observer covered by 7,719 feet of curved Earth. In reality, however, the entire mountain can be quite easily seen standing straight from base to summit.
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