Science Sunday: The optical illusion of what causes mirages
Impress mom today by showing her how optical illusions work. It's that time of year when you start to mirages over hot pavement. It looks like water is over the road, but it's not. And the closer you get to that water, the more the mirage disappears.
This is because an optical illusion is occurring.
On this week's Science Sunday, Channel 3's Tim Pham and Brittany Beggs demonstrate how light bends (refracts) and reflects.
You'll notice the two arrows on the sheet of paper are pointed in one direction. The arrows don't change when putting the paper behind the glass cup. But by adding water, you'll notice the arrows turn the opposite direction.
The water here is a medium, and it's reflecting and refracting the light going into the glass. Essentially light is coming in, being bent at an angle, which is turning the tail of the arrow 45 degrees. It's doing the same to the front, which makes it look like the arrows are pointed in the opposite direction.
In the summer months, air is rising off the hot pavement. The mirage that we see during this time is light reflecting and refracting off the hot air that is bouncing, rising and moving around, which is why it appears to look like liquid. The optical effect gives us the opportunity to see this phenomenon.
Have a weather-related science experiment you want to see on the Weekend Today? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.