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ERIC Number: EJ896105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 2
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Simulation of the Inferior Mirage
Branca, Mario
Physics Teacher, v48 n6 p372-373 Sep 2010
A mirage can occur when a continuous variation in the refractive index of the air causes light rays to follow a curved path. As a result, the image we see is displaced from the location of the object. If the image appears higher in the air than the object, it is called a "superior" mirage, while if it appears lower it is called an "inferior" mirage. The most common example of an inferior mirage is when, on a hot day, a stretch of dry road off in the distance appears to be wet (see Fig. 1). Many lab activities have been described that simulate the formation of superior mirages. In these demonstrations light beams curve downward as they pass through a nonuniform fluid. Much less common are laboratory demonstrations of "upward"-curving light rays of the kind responsible for inferior mirages. This paper describes a simple version of such a demonstration.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A