A false sunrise in Alaska

This is a fairly common event at certain times of the year.

Barrow Alaska is one of the northernmost cities on the planet. When the sun dips below the horizon on November 18 or 19 each year, the town experiences over two months of darkness. 

Nobody sees the sun again until it rises on January 22 or 23. But before the sun actually rises, the 4,000 or so residents can usually spot a fake sunrise, which is a weather-created optical illusion, a deceptive mirage caused by the frigid Arctic air bending the sun's light so it just peaks over the horizon.


The air currents also can change the shape of the false sun. 
This picture was taken seconds after the one above.

Take a look at an even stranger weather-related mirage: An "alien" optical illusion in the sky - light pillars, at Deceptology>>

'False sunrise' whets expectations for sun's reappearance in Barrow, The Arctic Sounder>>
Photos by Dave Anderson, National Weather Service

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