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Science News: Lake Erie lives up to it's name!

 
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Agamemnon



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Studying somewhere. Or at least that's where I should be.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:02 pm    Post subject: Science News: Lake Erie lives up to it's name! Reply with quote

Scientists: Fifty-Mile 'Long View' Across Lake Erie Theoretically Possible
Monday, July 31, 2006
Associated Press

CLEVELAND Scientists say it's a mirage, but others swear that when the weather is right, Clevelanders can see across Lake Erie and spot Canadian trees and buildings 50 miles away.

Eyewitness accounts have long been part of the city's history.

"The whole sweep of the Canadian shore stood out as if less than three miles away," a story in The Plain Dealer proclaimed in 1906. "The distant points across the lake stood out for nearly an hour and then faded away."

"I can see how this could be possible," said Lawrence Krauss, chairman of the physics department at Case Western Reserve University.

Krauss and Joe Prahl, chairman of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at Case, said mirages can occur during an atmospheric inversion, in which a layer of cold air blankets the lake, topped by layers of increasingly warm air.

When this happens, it can cause the light that filters through these layers from across the lake to bend, forming a lens that can create the illusion of distant objects.

The scientists said the air has to be extremely calm for the mirage to appear. If the wind blows, it distorts or dissolves the image.

Prahl and Krauss said such a mirage is rare. But Tom Schmidlin, a meteorologist in the geography department at Kent State University, said it's hardly unheard-of.

"It's not terribly unusual. Sailors are always exposed to this kind of thing," he said.

Prahl, who regularly sails his 30-foot sloop Seabird from Cleveland to Canada, has never seen it.

But Bob Boughner, a reporter for the Chatham Daily News in Ontario, said he's seen Cleveland from across Lake Erie twice, the first time four summers ago while driving along a road near the lake. He saw it again two summer ago while driving along the same road.

All of a sudden, there was Cleveland, just off the Canadian shore, as if it were just across a river, he said.

"I happened to look across the lake and, geez, I couldn't believe the sight," he said. "I could see the cars and the stoplights. I could even make out the different colors of the vehicles. It lasted a good two or three minutes."

Boughner said he remembers his aunt Melba Bates, who lived all her life on Lake Erie and recently died in her late 90s, talking about being able to see Cleveland, but he didn't believe her.

"I thought she was making up stories," he said. "But sure enough, I could see the same damned thing. When it shows up, it looks like you can touch it."
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Fhqwhgads



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...it can cause the light that filters through these layers from across the lake to bend, forming a lens that can create the illusion of distant objects.

So, theoretically it should be possible to take a photograph of that, right? That'd be cool if someone captured it.
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Michael



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well... wiki says this and then links here and here but I still don't see how any actual lensing is involved... wouldn't you need a hot spot surrounded by cold or something for that?
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Cthulhu



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From: The Mountains of Madness

Quote:
The effect was that of a Cyclopean city of no architecture known to man or to human imagination, with vast aggregations of night-black masonry embodying monstrous perversions of geometrical laws. There were truncated cones, sometimes terraced or fluted, surmounted by tall cylindrical shafts here and there bulbously enlarged and often capped with tiers of thinnish scalloped disks; and strange beetling, table-like constructions suggesting piles of multitudinous rectangular slabs or circular plates or five-pointed stars with each one overlapping the one beneath. There were composite cones and pyramids either alone or surmounting cylinders or cubes or flatter truncated cones and pyramids, and occasional needle-like spires in curious clusters of five. All of these febrile structures seemed knit together by tubular bridges crossing from one to the other at various dizzy heights, and the implied scale of the whole was terrifying and oppressive in its sheer gigantism. The general type of mirage was not unlike some of the wilder forms observed and drawn by the arctic whaler Scoresby in 1820, but at this time and place, with those dark, unknown mountain peaks soaring stupendously ahead, that anomalous elder-world discovery in our minds, and the pall of probable disaster enveloping the greater part of our expedition, we all seemed to find in it a taint of latent malignity and infinitely evil portent.


It was the mad, horrible reflection of the city of the Elder Things with whom I warred when man was young. The horrible plain of Leng, once thought to be in Asia. This was before the Shogoth went mad of course, and well in advance of the invasion of the revolting and fearful Mi-Go (or yeti, as you pitiful fleshbags call them). Good times, Good times.
[/quote]
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rm



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isn't the horizon at 12 miles?
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WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rm wrote:
isn't the horizon at 12 miles?

I thought it was 25.
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rm



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 4073

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

let's check the internet.
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Major Tom



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

they don't know anything
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Dro



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.boatsafe.com/tools/horizon.htm
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Thy Brilliance



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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Location: Relative

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another mystery that could be solved with a 24/7 year-round stationary video camera and 10 500-GB Harddrives.
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