1. Welcome to Encyclopedia Titanica
    or subscribe for unlimited access to ET! You can also login with , or !
    Dismiss Notice

Comprehensive research of the mirage theory

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by Mila, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. Mila

    Mila Member

  2. Look forward to reading them Mila.
  3. Mila

    Mila Member

    Thanks, and I am looking forward to hearing your reviews.
  4. Mila,
    I read through part 1. Really nice work. Lots of data to digest. Hope to get to part 2 soon.
    A few comments and questions from part 1:

    1. As far as the direction of the wind that sprang up Monday mording:
    According to Major Peauchen it came out of the north.
    Maj. PEUCHEN. No, I would not say the immediate vicinity, because there was a breeze started up at daybreak, and the wreckage would naturally float away from where she went down, somewhat. It might be that it had floated away, probably a mile or half a mile; probably not more than that, considering that the wind only sprang up at daybreak.
    Senator FLETCHER. Have you any idea which way that drift would tend, on account of the breeze or other conditions there?
    Maj. PEUCHEN. Which way the wind was blowing, you mean?
    Senator FLETCHER. Yes.
    Maj. PEUCHEN. The wind was blowing, I imagine, from the north at that time.

    In Beesley's book, he wrote: "And with the dawn came a faint breeze from the west, the first breath of wind we had felt since the Titanic stopped her engines. Anticipating a few hours,--as the day drew on to 8 A.M., the time the last boats came up,--this breeze increased to a fresh wind which whipped up the sea, so that the last boat laden with people had an anxious time in the choppy waves before they reached the Carpathia. An officer remarked that one of the boats could not have stayed afloat another hour: the wind had held off just long enough."
    No direction mentioned as to when it was a fresh wind.

    In your article you wrote: "Paola (1992) noted this wind too: One survivor tells of a breeze that came up out of the southeast around dawn to add to the morning’s chill." What eyewitness said that?

    Some hard data. On April 15, the Almerian was at 41° 48'N, 50° 24'W at 12:00 GMT. Wind was out of the East true at force 3 on Beaufort scale. Barometer 30"40 at 42°F on attached thermometer. Outside dry bulb thermometer was 33°F. That's only about 21 nautical miles westward of the wreck site.

    2. If the center of the high pressure area was west of the wreck site at the time of collision, how could there have been a flat calm for most of late Sunday night until dawn Monday morning?

    3. The correct conversion of Titanic time to GMT is to add about 3 hours (actually 2h 58m to be precise) to Titanic ATS. See Time and Again: Titanic's Final Hours.
  5. Mila

    Mila Member


    Thank you for taking time to read and review my article!

    To answer you question about wind direction:
    Honestly it did not really matter for this particular research. I only needed to demonstrate that there was wind on the morning of April 15,
    and wind could not have been there, if all that time the center of the Arctic High was sitting over the wreck site. I am not sure who said the wind was coming from southeast, I only was quoting Paola. But Aaron would probably know the answer to this question.

    I could have answered your second question with the same question I posted in my article, namely:

    "if according to Paola, Maltin and Basu et.al. (2014) the Arctic high was located over the scene of the tragedy at the time of the collision and the sinking (from around 03:20 GMT to 05:47 GMT) and still was there at 1300 GMT (Figure 12), “a fresh wind” could not have developed in the middle of the Arctic high. Remember (Paola, 1992) stated that calm weather is “one of the classic features of what meteorologists refer to as an "Arctic high"”.

    But here's another article https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/j.1477-8696.2000.tb04034.x The author writes:

    " Figure 2 shows the Titanic in a col calm between two anticyclones".

    So it appears that calm weather is a normal situation not only for the center of the high pressure areas , but also for areas in between two anticyclones.
    In the same article I mentioned above the author writes about the weather on the morning after:
    Thank you one more time for reading and reviewing my article!
  6. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Not sure what the wind was doing, but the currents were certainly playing up that night. The seafloor might give us some clues. For instance the stern is facing the opposite way. (Spin it around exactly 180 degrees and you get this).


    This tells me that the current or wind had assisted in some measure to push the stern around and stopped turning the ship once she faced the direction of the wind or current. There is a very long path of coal (almost a mile long) which extends far to the south of the stern in the same direction that the bow and stern are pointing. So there must have been some kind of force pushing everything in that direction (the labrador current?).

    However we also have the large debris field which extends far to the east of the stern. The bodies were recovered further east, and there is a large propeller blade resting far to the west of the stern. This tells me that everything was pushed east by the Gulf stream. So we have two forces working together. Perhaps something like this:





  7. Finally got to read part 2 Mila. Very comprehensive. Well done.

    Regarding the haze that Fleet saw, I often wondered why, if there was a haze on the horizon seen ahead about 10 minutes before the collision, nobody reported seeing any haze after the collision when the ship was stopped. As far as Lee, I think his description of haze all around was entirely made up, just like his claim that Fleet told him something along the lines of, 'if we can get through that we will be lucky.' Fleet vehemently denied saying anything of the sort.

    Regarding the story of Fleet telling people in the boat that he warned the bridge three times, it was all part of a rumor that spread rampant on Carpathia from a misunderstanding of what Fleet told Maj. Peuchen about what happened at the time of the iceberg sighting. Somehow, Fleet's striking of the bell three times to warn the bridge of an objected sighted ahead was interpreted as three separate warnings to the bridge, all of which were ignored.

    Capt. Lord's sighting of a whitening on the horizon was at a distance of about 1 mile before reaching near the edge of the ice field and taking evasive action. Fleet's haze on the horuizon would have been 12 miles ahead, or thereabouts. Where dod all that light come from for something like that to be seen that far off when the iceberg it self wasn't spotted until it was about 1/2 mile off, or less.?
    I fully agree with your conclusion that a mirage did not camouflage the iceberg for the exact same reasons you listed, and had expressed that opinion to Maltin before his book came out.
    Mila likes this.
  8. Mila

    Mila Member

    There's practically no doubt that there were mesoscale eddies (both cyclonic and anticyclone) in the vicinity of the wreck site. You could imagine these currents by watching this video of sea foam I filmed today

    I will discuss the currents that were affecting Titanic and Californian in the fourth part of the series.
  9. Mila

    Mila Member

    Thank you, Sam!
    Actually some eyewitnesses reported seeing the haze after the collision. I ended up talking more about sea smoke in the part 4, but it has not been accepted yet, so who knows what changes they will ask me to make.
    I believed the source I quoted about Lee telling people in the boat about the haze because the author mentioned that Lee told her aunt that only after the third warning the officers on the bridge started to turn the ship.
    Here's the page from the book

    I did not paid much attention to this, but I believe there were some questions about Mr. Murdoch changing the course before the warning about the iceberg. Maybe this explains why he did it? Besides according to the author Lee connected seeing haze with approaching sea ice. It is one of the details that make the story to appear more truthful. Finally Lee was asked something about fog, and he responded "I am in fog now". It was a strange response. It appears he did not know if he should tell the truth or follow the company guidelines. Fleet of course was too defensive. When I started my research I did not believe Lee's story, but now I believe he might have been telling the truth.

    Fleet might have seen ice-blink enhanced by sea-smoke. Lord might have seen the ice itself. They were looking from different heights. Sea smoke is a very local phenomena. Who knows.

    Like all works on Titanic mine could not account for everything. It just offers some other possibilities on weather phenomena that could have been present on that night.
  10. I place very little credibility to second and third hand accounts. I certainly would not use such accounts to advocate a theory. The fact that it was reported that you could not see where the sky ended and sea began could very well have been attributed to haze by some. Afterall, the actual horizon appeared to be obscured, there being no definitive dividing line. Yet, as I believe Charles Grove who said, or maybe Lord, that you could see stars right down to where the horizon should be, and some were even mistaken for steamer lights.
  11. Mila

    Mila Member

    I would not call my research "a theory". I just explored a possibility and demonstrated that meteorological conditions did favor the development of sea smoke. You and others assumed that the temperature of air and water were the same, so no haze could have ever developed. I demonstrated that it was not necessarily the case, and sea smoke could have developed not only around ice fields as it often does, but also above filaments of warmer water.

    As I said above I believed the book I cited is more or less credible because I am very sure the author heard nothing about the haze (she actually calls it "mist") and she provides some interesting details like associating this mist with approaching ice, and changing the course of Titanic. I did check, and her aunt was in the same boat Lee was.
    Besides I did provide a few other eyewitnesses' accounts, and will provide some more in the next parts. It is not like I based my suggestion (not a theory) on a single second hand account.
  12. Hello Mila. I read both both parts of your article. Very impressive research. I confess much was over my head. I'm just a lowly technician. I don't know if you stated it before if so I missed it. Are you a meteorologist by profession? I take it you are from the contacts you list at the end of the articles..the NOAA guys. In part 2 you talk about "ice blink". The reflection in the atmosphere. Which leads me to a question about reflection. I once experienced a pure flat calm where the ocean reflected the sky so thoroughly that you couldn't tell where one began and one ended. It was like being in a void. It was kind of surrealistic. Is there a term for that phenomena? Just curious. Anyway thanks for the article. Very interesting.
  13. Mila

    Mila Member

    Hello Steven,

    I am not a meteorologist, but I am lucky to have a great teacher Dr. Andrew Young, who is probably the best specialist in mirages. Dr. Young is not only a great scientist, but also a very generous person. He's always ready to share his knowledge. Sometimes I ask him a one sentence question and he writes response for half a page. I also know some other leading experts it atmospheric optics. NOAA guys, well, I just emailed them (found them on the NET) and they were very nice and helped me with their programs.

    Some call reflection you describe "mirror image", but the author of this book Color and Light in Nature explains that it is never perfect:

    BTW, if you'd like to ask something specific about my articles, please do.
    Steven Christian likes this.
  14. Mirror Image...well that's a pretty logical name for it. Well for not being a professional you have certainly amassed a lot of information on the subject. That void like situation was only if you were on the bow looking forward. On the fantail it wasn't there because aircraft carriers churn up a lot of water.
  15. Mikael K

    Mikael K Member

    I'm not doubting either the mist or the mirage, however, I don't see how the mirage could have played a major role in the disaster. Where I spend my summers here in Finland I see mirages at sea all the time. When the water is calm islands in the distance seem to float in the air. The horizon gets erased and the reflection is so perfect you can't see where solid land begins or ends. I have never seen this at night though, and never at a closer distance than 2.5 km (1.6 miles). Maybe mid-Atlantic mirages are different but if they aren't there is no way a mirage would exist yet fool anyone at half a mile.
  16. Mila

    Mila Member

    Do you have any pictures of the mirages you see in Finland?
  17. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Reminds me of the hills of Scotland I see 30 miles away and a lighthouse that are occasionally affected by the atmosphere both day and night.

    Captain! A ship is coming to our rescue just 8 miles away. Sadly it is a stationary lighthouse about 30 miles away that is being refracted by the atmosphere. Help is not coming.



    Mr. Crawford
    "Captain Smith could see the light quite plain, as he pointed in the direction that we were to make for. We pulled toward the light, and we could not reach it.....He pointed in the direction of the two lights, and said: “Pull for that vessel; land your people and return to the ship.” Those were Captain Smith’s words."

  18. Mikael K

    Mikael K Member

    No I haven't taken any photos, but you kind of get the idea from these pictures: kangastus meri - Google Search

    Regarding the Californian business I find it very likely that some kind of mirage might have fooled people aboard both that ship and on the Titanic.
  19. Mila

    Mila Member

    What puzzled me that you said you saw mirages from 1.6 miles, which is too close for a Fata Morgana. The search you linked to shows mostly inferior mirages, not Fata Morganas as Maltin claimed was at the wreck site.
    Now, you say that you believe that a mirage fooled people on both ships. How so? Could you be more specific please?
  20. Mikael K

    Mikael K Member

    I'm not too certain about the distances but I remember roughly which islands I've seen from where and just measured the distance in google maps. I haven't read Maltin's book (only seen the documentary) so I cannot really comment on that, nor am I an expert on weather conditions.

    Having seen mirages all my life I can understand these conditions causing confusion, and with all the testimonies about blurred horizons, ocean liners looking like tramp steamers and confusing lights and distances it makes sense. We can be sure about one thing at least: the weather conditions were very peculiar that night. I've seen all kinds of mist/smoke/vapor forming over the sea at night, at times in such a manner that you can't really see it but you know it's there because there's an "atmosphere", a weirdness and altering of visibility that you can't put your finger on. You probably couldn't get it on camera either. Maybe something of that kind fooled the lookouts?