Here's what our readers think the mirage spotted off Portsmouth looks like the most
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is a mysterious mirage visible off the coast of Portsmouth.
The spooky illusion, which appeared to take the shape of a cityscape, was spotted by beach-goers on Tuesday evening at around 7.30pm.
It could be seen a few miles east of the Isle of Wight.
Following a story on The News’ website yesterday, readers have been divided over what the mirage actually looks like.
Does it have the robust industrial charms of an Eastern bloc city, as Arthur Scott from Ventnor? Or does it more resemble the student housing blocks in Portsmouth city centre?
Here is what our readers thought:
Eddie Walshe said: ‘It's two container ships.’
However KG Gilead thought it resembled: ‘Neo Beograd in the Solent!’
Drew Day suggested it looked like: ‘A reflection of all the student accommodation we now have in Portsmouth.’
Naomi Marie Barton added: ‘Looks like that tank them pirates stole and took around the Solent.’
One of our readers even claimed to have seen it ‘off Bognor’.
Alan Priddy said: ‘It's light refraction and although it's rare to be seen this far south it happens a lot near the arctic circle. In Greenland it is not uncommon to see mirage of Chicago. Our planet is full of weird and wonderful sights.’
But what actually caused the mirage?
According to the Met Office, a Fata morgana mirage is the likely cause of the mysterious apparition.
A spokesman for the forecaster said: ‘The kind of mirage that appears to be in the image is when you have cooler air near the sea surface with a layer of warmer air above it.
‘A calm, hot and sunny day with a temperature inversion is the ideal setup for this to occur.’
Fata morgana mirages, which are commonly found above large bodies of water, are caused by light rays bending as they pass from cool ground level air to warmer air above it.
The bending of the light rays creates an optical illusion that makes objects appear to hover above the ground.