Walker ‘stunned’ as he snaps ‘floating ship’ in Cornish sea

A bizarre image of what appears to be a floating boat captured off the coast of England might be a rare "super" optical illusion.

The picture was captured by walker David Morris as he strolled along the shoreline near Falmouth Cornwall.

Mr Morris told the BBC he was "stunned" to see the floating vessel as he looked out at the sea.

Quick-thinking David immediately snapped a picture, unknowingly capturing a very rare type of optical illusion that is usually seen in the Arctic.

In the image, a red boat can be seen floating in the ocean, with scattered rocks showing Mr Morris’ proximity to land.

Upon closer inspection, it appears as though the boat is floating in mid-air as the sea closer inland meets deeper waters.

Squinting, it becomes clear the boat isn't magically floating.

The boat is actually further out to see, but because of the sun's reflection on the water the ocean line has become distorted, merging together, and making the other disappear.

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BBC meteorologist, David Braine, said Mr Morris captured something known as a 'super mirage'."

A 'super mirage' occurs because of special atmospheric conditions that bend light, compounded with certain weather conditions.

Mr Braine said a temperature inversion, which is where cold air lies close to the sea with warmer air above it, causes the light to "bend towards the eyes of someone standing on the ground or the coast."

He said wherever an individual is standing, it will change how distant an object, like the boat, appears.

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Mr Braine said: “Superior mirages occur because of the weather condition known as a temperature inversion, where cold air lies close to the sea with warmer air above it.

"Since cold air is denser than warm air, it bends light towards the eyes of someone standing on the ground or on the coast, changing how a distant object appears.

"Superior mirages can produce a few different types of images – here a distant ship appears to float high above its actual position, but sometimes an object below the horizon can become visible."

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