Jaw-Dropping Mirage: Photos of Solar Eclipse Give Appearance of 'Red Devil Horns' Over Persian Gulf

Photo Credit: Elias Chasiotis Screenshot: The Sun https://twitter.com/TheSun/status/1214822238161195008

Photo Credit: Elias Chasiotis via Facebook

A series of photographs taken at sunrise during the December 26th solar eclipse has gone viral on social media because it gives the appearance of “red devil horns.”

The Sun reports that amateur astrophotographer Elias Chasiotis was on holiday in Al Wakrah, Qatar, waiting for sunrise when the eclipse was believed to be most visible in the Persian Gulf.

Click on The Sun’s article and you will see Chasiotis’ complete series of photos as the sun rose during the eclipse.

Chasiotis said, “I had hoped that optical effects like inferior mirage would be visible and I was lucky enough to capture them.”

He had been worried nothing would come of it, “however, when the sun finally began to rise, it looked like two separate pieces, some sort of red horns piercing the sea. It soon took the form of a crescent, with the so-called ‘Etruscan vase’ inferior mirage effect visible. Due to its shape, the phenomenon was nicknamed the ‘evil sunrise.’”

According to The Sun, “This type of mirage over the ocean is called Fata Morgana and occurs when rays of light are bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures. It is named after the Arthurian sorceress Morgan Le Fay because it was once believed the mirages were a fairy castle created by her witchcraft to lure sailors to their deaths.”

This event was an annular eclipse and according to NASA, it was visible to viewers in the Asia/Australia area. After consulting a science website, I learned that, during an annular eclipse, the moon is further away from the earth than it is during a total eclipse, so it appears smaller and doesn’t cover up the sun completely. “Instead, a ‘ring of fire’ remains – the Sun still emits direct light.”

I have to say I can’t think of a more appropriate region of the world for a red devil horn mirage to appear than the Persian Gulf.

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