Superior mirage and the Californian


DarrenC

Member
Hello everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster.

There has been much discussion over the superior mirage/refraction theory (which I find compelling) and the effect this may have had on the crew's ability to spot the iceberg; not to mention it could also explain the error in Titanic's reported position as longitude is calculated on sunrise/set times - which would have been difficult to determine accurately in these circumstances.

I was wondering, however, if anybody has given any thought to what this effect may have had on the perceived distances between Titanic and Californian? There are several comments made by the crew of Californian, such as "she looked queer out of the water", which the mirage theory could go a long way towards explaining.

This is just an idea I thought I'd throw out here since I have not seen it discussed elsewhere. I am attempting to do a more thorough analysis (especially with respect to how Titanic's rockets may have appeared under such circumstances, as they would be penetrating into the warmer air layers), but wouldn't it be something if there was a "mystery ship", and that ship turned out to be the Titanic; albeit in mirage form?

Very interested in hearing if this has been considered before.

Darren C.
 
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T Maltin

Member
I would like to think Titanic’s longitude error was caused because the sunset times were affected by the superior mirage in the area, but Sam Halpern has a very convincing theory that it was caused by a one minute error in converting Titanic’s twilight star sighting from the time recorded on the hack watch used on deck to Titanic’s chronometer time.

The one minute error at her latitude equating to the 10 miles error.

And you are right that The Californian Incident was caused by the thermal inversion, but possibly in a slightly different way to what you are imagining: the raised horizon made Titanic appear nearer AND THEREFORE SMALLER. That is why Lord did not risk his own ship in the ice to rescue the (apparently equivalent) vessel in distress.

And the rockets were magnified in the cold air near the sea, so they only appeared bright enough to be seen low down, which is why they seemed to be coming from a vessel beyond Titanic.

I think Californian and Titanic were about 10 miles apart (though they appeared to be only about five miles apart, due to the abnormally raised horizon).

Ray bending at such close ranges would not have had a distorting effect, to the “big side out of the water” is likely to be just that, as the tender Titanic heeled whilst sinking - indeed there is evidence that Wilde ordered everybody to one side to straighten her up!

You can all read more about this here:

The hidden cause of the Titanic disaster

Thank you Darren and all, Tim
 

Mila

Member
Hello everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster.

There has been much discussion over the superior mirage/refraction theory (which I find compelling) and the effect this may have had on the crew's ability to spot the iceberg; not to mention it could also explain the error in Titanic's reported position as longitude is calculated on sunrise/set times - which would have been difficult to determine accurately in these circumstances.

I was wondering, however, if anybody has given any thought to what this effect may have had on the perceived distances between Titanic and Californian? There are several comments made by the crew of Californian, such as "she looked queer out of the water", which the mirage theory could go a long way towards explaining.

This is just an idea I thought I'd throw out here since I have not seen it discussed elsewhere. I am attempting to do a more thorough analysis (especially with respect to how Titanic's rockets may have appeared under such circumstances, as they would be penetrating into the warmer air layers), but wouldn't it be something if there was a "mystery ship", and that ship turned out to be the Titanic; albeit in mirage form?

Very interested in hearing if this has been considered before.

Darren C.
Hi Darren,
There was no superior mirage at the night the Titanic sank.
I have just published 4 articles in Weather that clearly explain almost every observations
made by eyewitnesses’ and explains why there was no mirage present. In the fourth part of the series I explained in details why Californian appeared to be approaching or receding and so on. I have seen hundreds of mirages, and there is nothing in the eyewitnesses’ accounts that indicates that there was a superior mirage at the night the Titanic sank.
 
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T Maltin

Member
Thanks Mila, please would you post another link to those Weather articles, so I and others here can read them.

Of course Californian and the iceberg were too close to Titanic for miraging effects to be noticeable at those short distances, but there is plenty of evidence that there was a miraging strip right around the horizon, which looked like a haze on the horizon, despite the clear air and high pressure.

This had the effect of appearing to raise the horizon behind Titanic and Californian, making them appear nearer to each other than the 10 miles or so that they were really apart.

It also caused problems with Fleet and Lee identifying the fatal iceberg in time, as the raised horizon *behind* the iceberg had the effect of reducing the berg’s apparent angular size - thus making it seen moments later than it would otherwise have been.

The thermal inversion at Titanic’s crash site also magnified the rockets when they were low down, in the cold air nearest the sea surface. This is why Titanic’s rockets appeared to rise not very high (as they appeared to small to be seen when in the warmer air higher up).

All this is explained neatly in my short article on this topic, which I wrote with our mutual friend and leading mirage expert, Professor Andrew T Young.

Our article is here:

The hidden cause of the Titanic disaster

Are you saying that you disagree with the findings in this article?

If so, which bits and why?

The article is not long and is very clear, so I would be greatful for a brief critique of it from you.

Thank you - and I love your photographs of mirages, which are spectacular.

All the best and thank you, Tim
 

Mila

Member
Thank you Tim!

Here are the links:
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wea.3243
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.3276
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.3406
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.3431

Tim, I've read your book and your article and responded to most, if not all points you've made in the articles I wrote.
To repeat it here would be a waste of time.
I'd be happy to discuss any questions you would have after reading my articles.

All the best!
 
Hi Tim,

I am most grateful for your contributions the last few days, which are of considerable significance and importance.

I wonder if you might be prepared to engage in some further debate on all of this, to help those non marine experts interested in The Californian Incident?

The generally accepted reason why Groves on The Californian stated he saw 2 masthead lights, was not due to some mirage effect, but because the British Inquiry assumed Titanic had 2 masthead lights.

Captain Lord saw one masthead light, as did later Stone and Gibson. So the obvious question is why only Groves saw 2 masthead lights?

Stone's estimation of the height of some of the rockets he saw makes no sense whatsoever, when we compare what Gibson saw of the last 3 rockets seen by both. Gibson never stated the rockets seen were low lying.

My apologies in advance, as I have only read your above quoted article, and I assume a fuller work is available which I have not read and considered.

What Stone and Gibson saw later on of the 3 rockets fired from the Carpathia also needs considering.

What we need is the reason why Captain Lord did not come to the flying bridge from his chart room immediately below despite various attempts by Stone and Gibson to get him there during that night.

Your above article suggesting Captain Lord thought there was a vessel some 4-5 miles away was exactly why Captain Lord had ordered steam to be maintained in case his vessel had to be moved at a moment's notice to avoid another ship coming too close to his stopped vessel and endangering The Californian.

I have never seen a 'mirage' at sea, but appreciate it is a well known phenomena these days, and I would like to know how well known it was and accepted in 1912.

I think one should tread very carefully with Groves' description of a passenger ship coming up obliquely and showing sidelights that could never have been Titanic, and later on Stone's ship steaming away to the southwards of The Californian steaming westwards towards/into the icefield showing it's red port light so in effect steaming in reverse/backwards.

Gibson stated it was not Titanic he saw (and apparently was what he told his wife till he died), yet what he described in 1912 was clearly Titanic.

Groves described a passenger ship that could have been Titanic but a vast part of his British Inquiry evidence of what he saw 'obliquely' plus the 2 masthead lights makes no sense whatsoever I suggest. Yet he always maintained till the day he died he had seen Titanic that night.

Subsequent to the British Inquiry, Stone told many people including his wife and eldest son, that it was Titanic he had seen.

Captain Lord described pretty accurately (with a few provisos) a ship southwards of The Californian approaching from the east showing its green starboard light and one masthead light, and some of his timings implicate Titanic clearly. There is also the order to Evans after their conversation to call up Titanic around 11pm on the 14th April.

Any consideration of the 'mirage' theory must be considered in respect of the totality of The Californian evidence, which is not just confined to the USA and British Inquiry evidence, but also a vast body of evidence including both Stone and Gibson's statements of 18th April 1912, the Boston Newspaper reports, Ship's Carpenter McGregor's evidence via his cousin and the letter that got to London, plus Captain Lord's later letters that year, and much else besides.

What is quite clear is that in the late 1950s correspondence between Charles Groves and Walter Lord, no consideration was given to any mirage. Neither was this given any consideration by Captain Stanley Lord in his taped recorded interviews with Leslie Harrison in 1961, or his 1959 Affidavit.

Neither did Boxhall or Lightoller ever consider it either.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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T Maltin

Member
Thank you Tim!

Here are the links:
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wea.3243
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.3276
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.3406
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wea.3431

Tim, I've read your book and your article and responded to most, if not all points you've made in the articles I wrote.
To repeat it here would be a waste of time.
I'd be happy to discuss any questions you would have after reading my articles.

All the best!
Thank you Mila, I will read these closely and with interest and come back to you with my comments. At a quick glance I like your point about “sea smoke” as Lightoller himself mentions this when describing the visibility as they were passing through the ice region.

Best wishes, Tim
 

T Maltin

Member
Hi Tim,

I am most grateful for your contributions the last few days, which are of considerable significance and importance.

I wonder if you might be prepared to engage in some further debate on all of this, to help those non marine experts interested in The Californian Incident?

The generally accepted reason why Groves on The Californian stated he saw 2 masthead lights, was not due to some mirage effect, but because the British Inquiry assumed Titanic had 2 masthead lights.

Captain Lord saw one masthead light, as did later Stone and Gibson. So the obvious question is why only Groves saw 2 masthead lights?

Stone's estimation of the height of some of the rockets he saw makes no sense whatsoever, when we compare what Gibson saw of the last 3 rockets seen by both. Gibson never stated the rockets seen were low lying.

My apologies in advance, as I have only read your above quoted article, and I assume a fuller work is available which I have not read and considered.

What Stone and Gibson saw later on of the 3 rockets fired from the Carpathia also needs considering.

What we need is the reason why Captain Lord did not come to the flying bridge from his chart room immediately below despite various attempts by Stone and Gibson to get him there during that night.

Your above article suggesting Captain Lord thought there was a vessel some 4-5 miles away was exactly why Captain Lord had ordered steam to be maintained in case his vessel had to be moved at a moment's notice to avoid another ship coming too close to his stopped vessel and endangering The Californian.

I have never seen a 'mirage' at sea, but appreciate it is a well known phenomena these days, and I would like to know how well known it was and accepted in 1912.

I think one should tread very carefully with Groves' description of a passenger ship coming up obliquely and showing sidelights that could never have been Titanic, and later on Stone's ship steaming away to the southwards of The Californian steaming westwards towards/into the icefield showing it's red port light so in effect steaming in reverse/backwards.

Gibson stated it was not Titanic he saw (and apparently was what he told his wife till he died), yet what he described in 1912 was clearly Titanic.

Groves described a passenger ship that could have been Titanic but a vast part of his British Inquiry evidence of what he saw 'obliquely' plus the 2 masthead lights makes no sense whatsoever I suggest. Yet he always maintained till the day he died he had seen Titanic that night.

Subsequent to the British Inquiry, Stone told many people including his wife and eldest son, that it was Titanic he had seen.

Captain Lord described pretty accurately (with a few provisos) a ship southwards of The Californian approaching from the east showing its green starboard light and one masthead light, and some of his timings implicate Titanic clearly. There is also the order to Evans after their conversation to call up Titanic around 11pm on the 14th April.

Any consideration of the 'mirage' theory must be considered in respect of the totality of The Californian evidence, which is not just confined to the USA and British Inquiry evidence, but also a vast body of evidence including both Stone and Gibson's statements of 18th April 1912, the Boston Newspaper reports, Ship's Carpenter McGregor's evidence via his cousin and the letter that got to London, plus Captain Lord's later letters that year, and much else besides.

What is quite clear is that in the late 1950s correspondence between Charles Groves and Walter Lord, no consideration was given to any mirage. Neither was this given any consideration by Captain Stanley Lord in his taped recorded interviews with Leslie Harrison in 1961, or his 1959 Affidavit.

Neither did Boxhall or Lightoller ever consider it either.

Cheers,

Julian
Hi Julian,

Thank you for your comments above. Firstly, I’m not too worried about the two masthead light thing. It could have been an error or caused by atmospheric conditions but, as you say, it was unquestionably Titanic that Californian saw approaching and coming to a stop that night.

As regards Titanic showing her port light, this is consistent with Titanic porting about the berg at collision - as we know she ended up heading almost directly towards Californian.

I also agree with you re taking into account all the evidence and I find Gill is very interesting on this point also, as he describes just catching the rockets “as they were dying” and talks about the strange horizon that night.

Bisset on the approaching Carpathia also talks about the strange horizon that night. As does Symons on Titanic and of course Beesley re his “stars being cut in two on the horizon” - ‘doubling’ is what this is known as, and it *could* explain Groves’ two masthead lights.

Of course the flat-topped smoke observed by another of the first class passengers as Titanic is sinking is strong evidence of the thermal inversion itself.

I should point out that I am more interested in the fact that a strong thermal inversion was present at Titanic’s crash site than any miraging effect it may have had at the horizon. Although several logbooks from nearby ships mention seeing “miraging” and “refraction at the horizon” in that ice region of the Atlantic in April 1912 - this is often accompanied by descriptions of the extraordinary bright stars.

The most interesting question as you say is why on Earth did Lord not come up and have a look. I wonder if he did indeed have a sneak peak but his mind was made up from the start: his orders were not to go into ice; he had seen the ice and been frightened by it when he came to his emergency stop against the field ice; he simply determined that the wiser course of action was to wait a few hours until daylight, before investigating what he did not believe to be the Titanic in distress.

Damning with hindsight, but without the prior knowledge of that catastrophe perhaps an understandable and even sensible conclusion!

I think fear had more to do with it than callousness.

Finally, on your point about Titanic’s officers not mentioning the slight refraction at the horizon, I believe this is because they were fending off a negligence law suit: any acknowledgment of any strange visibility would have made them appear guilty for proceeding full speed through the ice region. Lightoller therefore did not complicate his account with it, especially in view of the fact that it was truly also one of the clearest nights in history!

And of course Lord would not acknowledge that abnormal refraction was present that night as it would blow his theory that he could not have been seen, or have seen Titanic at the range he was away - he deceitfully claimed he was at least 20 miles away.

Finally miraging and abnormal refraction were well known to all master mariners in 1912.

Thanks for all keeping the tone friendly here. Let’s stick to that on this thread as I am writing these replies without referring to full detail, in order to make - I hope - some useful points without us all getting deeply bogged down in the vital minutiae...yet!

Thanks and my more detailed book on this called “A very deceiving night” can be downloaded as an ebook via www.titanic-thetruth.com Inevitably my conclusions have moved on quite a bit since I wrote that book but it really is a must for anyone really interested in the Californian Incident and indeed why the whole tragedy occurred.

Please keep the questions coming and I will do my best to answer as soon as poss and certainly within a few days each time.

Thank you all, Tim
 
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Mila

Member
Of course the flat-topped smoke observed by another of the first class passengers as Titanic is sinking is strong evidence of the thermal inversion itself.
Hi Tim,
It might be evidence of an inversion (inversions are very, very common, superior mirages not so much), but it is mostly evidence that there was no mirage.
Here's an image of flat-topped smoke due to an invesion https://homecomingbook.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/flatplume2.jpg Do you see a mirage there?
The passanger said that smoke rose high into the sky. Only steep close-to-the ground inversion could result in a superior mirage.
Although several logbooks from nearby ships mention seeing “miraging” and “refraction at the horizon” in that ice region of the Atlantic in April 1912l.
I meant to ask you about this. For example in your book you write
Further evidence of abnormal refraction in the area comes from the log of the Wilson Line steamer
Marengo, bound from New York to Hull under the command of Captain G. W. Owen. On the night
of the collision and sinking of the Titanic on the 14/15th April 1912 she was in the same longitude as
the Titanic and only one degree south, and her log records both the clear, starlit night and the great
refraction on the horizon:
Extracts from the log book of the
and here's what Dr. Paul Lee writes on his site http://www.paullee.com/titanic/northatlanticships.html
following the Tim Maltin/super-refraction documentary, I contacted the UK Meteorological Office who possessed the weather log for the Marengo. At noon on April 14th, she was at 40 57 N, 56 3 W; 24 hours later, she was at 40 57 N, 50 29 W. This shows that, unless she took a massive and unexplained detour, she was never south of 40 57 N, or 47 miles south of the wrecksite, and well outside of visible range. Her log does not mention encountered any ice, which is consistent with the lay of the ice field that night.
I did check the logs of Marengo myself and Dr. Lee is correct.
Then you write:
Niagara recorded seeing miraging on the afternoon of the 12th April, whilst in the same area:
However the picture of the log you presentred in the book appears to show the not April 12 but April 13
upload_2019-1-3_20-20-6.png


Was Niagra still in the area on April 13?

And of course Lord would not acknowledge that abnormal refraction was present that night as it would blow his theory that he could not have been seen, or have seen Titanic at the range he was away - he deceitfully claimed he was at least 20 miles away.
Why is that? A mirage could have been not only 20, but even 50 miles away. IMO if Lord observed refraction, saying so would have only helped him to explain why he did not try to help. At least De Coverly used this theory when he tried to prove that Lord's action were justified.

Finally, on your point about Titanic’s officers not mentioning the slight refraction at the horizon, I believe this is because they were fending off a negligence law suit: any acknowledgment of any strange visibility would have made them appear guilty for proceeding full speed through the ice region. Lightoller therefore did not complicate his account with it, especially in view of the fact that it was truly also one of the clearest nights in history!
Well, maybe we should start with agreeing that there is no any confimed observation of night-time refraction that does not involve any light source.
 
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Aaron_2016

Former Member
......the raised horizon made Titanic appear nearer AND THEREFORE SMALLER. That is why Lord did not risk his own ship in the ice to rescue the (apparently equivalent) vessel in distress.

And the rockets were magnified in the cold air near the sea, so they only appeared bright enough to be seen low down, which is why they seemed to be coming from a vessel beyond Titanic.

I think Californian and Titanic were about 10 miles apart (though they appeared to be only about five miles apart, due to the abnormally raised horizon).

Ray bending at such close ranges would not have had a distorting effect, to the “big side out of the water” is likely to be just that, as the tender Titanic heeled whilst sinking - indeed there is evidence that Wilde ordered everybody to one side to straighten her up!

You can all read more about this here:

The hidden cause of the Titanic disaster

Thank you Darren and all, Tim

Thought I would add my two cents. I see strange sights quite often here on the Northern Ireland coastline as I look towards Scotland. I believe it has got something to do with temperatures changing as the cold water from the Atlantic enters the Irish sea and there is a sudden change.

As a result, here is my view of Scotland and a lighthouse taken at various times of the evening. For some reason Scotland turns into a cloud, and the lighthouse (30 miles away) has been elevated and the light has doubled.

scotlandlighthouse.png


It was still like that at night, although the bottom light had turned red. Might easily be mistaken for a ship's masthead light and port light. - "There's a ship coming towards us, lads! Send out the rockets."

lighthouse2.png


A passing freighter appears to morph and elevate and invert when it passes the affected zone.

freighter.png


It happens briefly just as they pass through this circle when the two temperatures clash.

mapcurrent1.png


Various websites show the air temperatures changing rapidly through this zone.

airtempdifference.png


Also the water temperatures clash with each other.

watertempdifference3.png


My guess is, the atmosphere is changing from one layer to another and creating the optical illusions.

Here is a large French aircraft carrier (left). She was 18 miles away and should have appeared beyond the horizon (right).

aircraftcarrier1.png


But when she sailed through the affected zone her entire body lifted out and inverted (right)

aircraftcarrier2.png


Creating the impression that a vessel 18 miles away was much closer and on the horizon 8 miles away as her structure had been lifted up and inverted.

aircraftcarrier3.png


A few moments later she crossed deeper into the affected zone and her bridge could only be seen. It was also elevated and inverted and she appeared nothing like her true self.

aircraftcarrier5.png


The hills of Scotland had also magnified to an alarming scale. Perhaps this is why the stars appeared so big and bright close to the horizon?

aircraftcarrier4.png


Perhaps if the Titanic was 20 - 30 miles away her boat deck was the only visible structure from the Californian's perspective and the atmosphere had elevated it and inverted it and created the impression she was a smaller steamer just a few miles away. I believe this would explain why no sounds could be heard from her and why her rockets appeared to explode close to her masthead light as it would burst above the affected layer of atmosphere and burst in the correct unaffected layer which presented her true distance from the Californian.

Here is another ship which remained stationary during the night in the affected zone. Her hull elevated and inverted like the others. What is interesting is that she was almost 20 miles away but her lights had also inverted / doubled, which created the false impression that she was so close that her lights were reflecting down on the water, when in reality she was almost 20 miles away.

mirage1.png


She can be seen here between the harbour street lights. The vessel appeared so bright that she could easily be mistaken for a street light.

mirage2.png


I recall several survivors witnessed the Northern Lights and how bright they were. Perhaps their presence and intensity might add some clues regarding the atmosphere that night?
 
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Hi Tim,

I am very grateful for your considered reply to my post.

At the conclusion of Captain Lord's USA Inquiry testimony he states

"it was a very deceiving night."

At the start of his soliloquy a bit earlier in his evidence he states

"When I came off the bridge, at half-past 10, I pointed out to the officer [Groves] that I thought I saw a light coming along, and it was a most peculiar light, and we had been making mistakes all along with the stars, thinking they were signals. We could not distinguish where the sky ended and where the water commenced. You understand, it was a flat calm. He said he thought it was a star, and I did not say anything more."

It was definitely a deceiving night, with also lots of deceit and deception!

It would be very interesting to know how you have modified your views subsequently when compared to your ebook, and the article you provided the link for.

Cheers,

Julian
 

T Maltin

Member
Thank you Julian for your kind words. Yes, I called my book A Very Deceiving Night because of this quote from Captain Lord - it was as close as he got to admitting the abnormal refraction in the ice region that night! I have not yet changed my views from what I summarised in my blog called The Hidden Cause of the Titanic Disaster. But this was written to be a short summary of A Very Deceiving Night and also to reflect the main area where I had changed my thinking, and that is around how the abnormal refraction at the horizon may have caused the berg to be spotted slightly later than it would otherwise have been. In short, since I completed A Very Deceiving Night, I now understand more clearly how the lack of •contrast• between the berg and the mirarging strip at the horizon may have had the effect of reducing the •apparent angular size• of the berg, thus making it detectable later than it would otherwise have been. The simplest way to put it is that the effectively zero contrast between the berg and the miraging strip at the horizon had the effect of horizontally bisecting the approaching berg into two smaller pieces. Now the night vision of humans is not great for detecting apparently small (distant) objects approaching directly towards us in the dark. The bigger they appear, and the more contrast there is between them and their surroundings, the quicker we see them. Titanic's stem actually cleared the berg initially; the impact came only as Titanic's bow was swung back towards the berg in an attempt to also swing her stern clear of it. So even a few seconds of delay caused by spotting the berg slightly later because it appeared smaller because of the reduced contrast between the berg and the horizon would make the difference between a narrow escape and a fatal collision. But broadly speaking my thesis has not changed - although it might when I read Mila's articles and the post above! Let us see...
 

T Maltin

Member
Hi Tim,
It might be evidence of an inversion (inversions are very, very common, superior mirages not so much), but it is mostly evidence that there was no mirage.
Here's an image of flat-topped smoke due to an invesion https://homecomingbook.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/flatplume2.jpg Do you see a mirage there?
The passanger said that smoke rose high into the sky. Only steep close-to-the ground inversion could result in a superior mirage.

THANKS MILA AND PLEASE SEE MY COMMENTS IN CAPS BELOW, AS I AM NOT SURE HOW INLINE COMMENTING HERE WORKS YET! I AGREE THAT THE PRESENCE OF AN INVERSION DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN A MIRAGE IS PRESENT, OF COURSE. ONE NEEDS RAY CROSSING TO CREATE A MIRAGE, NOT JUST ABNORMAL RAY BENDING. SO WE AGREE HERE. I LOVE YOUR PIC OF THE FLAT TOPPED SMOKE. LOVELY ONE!

I meant to ask you about this. For example in your book you write

and here's what Dr. Paul Lee writes on his site http://www.paullee.com/titanic/northatlanticships.html

I did check the logs of Marengo myself and Dr. Lee is correct.

MILA, IN MY BOOK I SHOW THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE LOG ITSELF, SO PAUL WOULD NOT HAVE TO ASK THE MET OFFICE TO LOOK UP WHAT I HAVE ALREADY SHOWED, EXCEPT TO VERIFY THAT I HAD NOT FAKED THE LOGBOOK IMAGE, OG COURSE!. I AGREE THAT "At noon on April 14th, she was at 40 57 N, 56 3 W; 24 hours later, she was at 40 57 N, 50 29 W." THIS SHOWS HER TRAVELLING FROM WEST TO EAST ALONG THE EASTBOUND STEAMER TRACK, WHICH IS ALONG 40 57N. SO AT THE TIME OF TITANIC'S COLLISION, SHE WAS DIRECTLY SOUTH OF TITANIC'S CRASH SITE AT 49 56 W. AND I NEVER SAID SHE WAS WITHIN VISIBLE RANGE: I JUST SAID THAT SHE RECORDED ABNORMAL REFRACTION AT THE HORIZON AT THE SAME LONGITUDE AND NOT FAR SOUTH OF TITANIC'S CRASH SITE. WHERE IS THE PROBLEM WITH THAT?

Then you write:

However the picture of the log you presentred in the book appears to show the not April 12 but April 13
View attachment 43119

YES MILA, THE ENTRY FOR THE 13th RECORDS THAT THE MIRAGE WAS SEEN "ON THE AFTERNOON OF THE 12th", AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE IMAGE ITSELF.
Was Niagra still in the area on April 13?

NO, SHE WAS IN THE AREA ON THE 12th, AS I SAID IN MY BOOK.




Why is that? A mirage could have been not only 20, but even 50 miles away. IMO if Lord observed refraction, saying so would have only helped him to explain why he did not try to help. At least De Coverly used this theory when he tried to prove that Lord's action were justified.

EXACTLY MILA, THAT IS WHY LORD DID NOT WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE ABNORMAL REFRACTION: BECAUSE HE WANTED TO SAY THAT HE WAS BEYOND THE VISIBLE RANGE OF TITANIC. NOW WE BOTH KNOW THAT IN ABNORMALLY REFRACTIVE CONDITIONS HE COULD EVEN HAVE BEEN 50 MILES AWAY AND STILL SEEN TITANIC SINKING. THAT IS WHY HE WANTED TO STICK TO THE MYTH OF NORMAL VISIBILITY RE DISTANCES THAT NIGHT.


Well, maybe we should start with agreeing that there is no any confimed observation of night-time refraction that does not involve any light source.

NO. FOR EXAMPLE, THE LOOKOUTS NOTICED THE APPARENT THIN BAND OF HAZE ALL AROUND THE HORIZON, WHICH I EXPLAIN IN THE SEA HEDGES SECTION OF MY BOOK IS CAUSED BY ABNORMAL REFRACTION.

Reginald Lee, Titanic Lookout:

2401. What sort of a night was it?
– A clear, starry night overhead, but at the time of the accident there was a haze right ahead.

2402. At the time of the accident a haze right ahead?
– A haze right ahead – in fact it was extending more or less round the horizon. There was no moon.

AND AS LEE SAID IN THE RYAN TRIAL IN 1913:

"The sky was clear; the sea was not. There was a haze, as seen when one looked for the horizon.


Was there any kind of haze within half a mile of the ship? - I think there was. There was none round the ship.

Mr Murdoch was on the bridge. Another officer was popping in and out of the chart-room. He thought it was Mr Low [sic]. He came down from the crow's nest when he was relieved at 12 o'clock. At that time it was not clear at the horizon. He thought the haze was extending all round the horizon within a certain locality. When they were in the boats they could see a further distance."

AND GEORGE SYMONS (WHO HAD "THE BEST EYES IN THE FLEET" ACCORDING TO LIGHTOLLER) AND WHO WAS ON LOOKOUT IN THE ICE REGION FROM 8PM UNTIL 10PM ON THE NIGHT OF THE COLLISION CONFIRMED AT THE RYAN HEARING IN 1913 THAT:

"There was a slight haze on the water obscuring the view of the sky-line. It was about the same in their watch throughout the two hours."
 

T Maltin

Member
Thought I would add my two cents. I see strange sights quite often here on the Northern Ireland coastline as I look towards Scotland. I believe it has got something to do with temperatures changing as the cold water from the Atlantic enters the Irish sea and there is a sudden change.

As a result, here is my view of Scotland and a lighthouse taken at various times of the evening. For some reason Scotland turns into a cloud, and the lighthouse (30 miles away) has been elevated and the light has doubled.

View attachment 43120

It was still like that at night, although the bottom light had turned red. Might easily be mistaken for a ship's masthead light and port light. - "There's a ship coming towards us, lads! Send out the rockets."

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A passing freighter appears to morph and elevate and invert when it passes the affected zone.

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It happens briefly just as they pass through this circle when the two temperatures clash.

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Various websites show the air temperatures changing rapidly through this zone.

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Also the water temperatures clash with each other.

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My guess is, the atmosphere is changing from one layer to another and creating the optical illusions.

Here is a large French aircraft carrier (left). She was 18 miles away and should have appeared beyond the horizon (right).

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But when she sailed through the affected zone her entire body lifted out and inverted (right)

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Creating the impression that a vessel 18 miles away was much closer and on the horizon 8 miles away as her structure had been lifted up and inverted.

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A few moments later she crossed deeper into the affected zone and her bridge could only be seen. It was also elevated and inverted and she appeared nothing like her true self.

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The hills of Scotland had also magnified to an alarming scale. Perhaps this is why the stars appeared so big and bright close to the horizon?

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Perhaps if the Titanic was 20 - 30 miles away her boat deck was the only visible structure from the Californian's perspective and the atmosphere had elevated it and inverted it and created the impression she was a smaller steamer just a few miles away. I believe this would explain why no sounds could be heard from her and why her rockets appeared to explode close to her masthead light as it would burst above the affected layer of atmosphere and burst in the correct unaffected layer which presented her true distance from the Californian.

Here is another ship which remained stationary during the night in the affected zone. Her hull elevated and inverted like the others. What is interesting is that she was almost 20 miles away but her lights had also inverted / doubled, which created the false impression that she was so close that her lights were reflecting down on the water, when in reality she was almost 20 miles away.

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She can be seen here between the harbour street lights. The vessel appeared so bright that she could easily be mistaken for a street light.

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I recall several survivors witnessed the Northern Lights and how bright they were. Perhaps their presence and intensity might add some clues regarding the atmosphere that night?
Dear Aaron, Yup! Imagine trying to spot a small/distant iceberg in the dark in abnormally refracting conditions like that! Fascinating pics, especially of the doubling of that lighthouse light. Even the stars were doubling at the horizon that night - and as we say Titanic's stern light may have been, too. Lord could have been further away than 10 miles (he was certainly further away than the 5 miles the two ships appeared to be apart) but careful analysis of where Californian was shows that she was no more than 12 nautical miles from Titanic. At that range it was the perception problems caused by the raised horizon behind Titanic (making Titanic appear closer and therefore smaller than she really was) which caused most of the interpretive problems. As Mila points out, the two ships were too close to each other for miraging effects to be visible at the range of the vessels themselves. Titanic's "big side out of the water" really was her listing away from her even keel as she sank! You are correct re the apparently low rockets being due to the atmosphere. Great pics and a very interesting case study of how sharply differing sea temperatures cause abnormal refraction. Thank you for sharing that, Tim
 

Aaron_2016

Former Member
Thanks. I am also curious about the atmosphere that created a halo around the Titanic and what may have caused this. Survivor Helen Candee said:

"It was a marvelous sight all emphasized by a more than twilight and a heaven full of such stars as only an arctic cold can produce. They actually lighted the atmosphere. The sea with its glassy surface threw back star by star the dazzling array, and made of the universe a complete unity without the break of a sky-line. It was like the inside of an entire globe. We both gasped at such beauty and for a moment forgot the menace still unexplained but deeply real, wildly impressive."

When her lifeboat rowed away she saw -

"An effulgence glowed like a halo over the ship and around it. Another range of lighted windows slipped under the water. A stout and silent lady among us asked briefly. 'Will the ship sink, go to the bottom?' The steersman assured her that it was rapidly doing so.......When I lifted up my head from that incident, the great Titanic was gone.......The beautiful effulgence was gone with the ship."

Here is a rare phenomena known as a parhelion. The icy fibres in the atmosphere are so rich that it creates a halo effulgence. Helen Candee said - "An effulgence glowed like a halo over the ship and around it." Is it possible that the atmosphere was dense with ice particles which created this halo effect around the ship?

sundog-parhelion.png


Perhaps the bright starlight against her huge structure and cylindrical funnels, coupled with her electric lights shining brightly had illuminated the icy particles and produced this halo parhelion effect around the ship? Here is a newspaper clip I found from February 5th 1912 which describes something similar.

Washington DC newspaper - Evening Star

Parhelion1912.png
 
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