Superior mirage and the Californian

M

Mila

Guest
think people are over complicating what happened with the Titanic and Californian sightings of each other. I see it all as a familiar case of inferior refraction.
Really? Then how you explain why Beesley saw only 2 lights (one of which was a mirage according to you). Should not he had seen 4 lights? Why nobody saw double sidelights? No, Boxhall’s description of an approaching steamer is not a description of a miraged steamer.
 

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
Not at all Tim if there is no visible horizon to use as a reference. Even Capt.Lord was clear about that. There was what is called a soft horizon, "it was hard to define where the sky ended and the water commenced." He also did not believe there was any haze.
3/O Groves also agreed that the horizon was not visible and there was no visible haze.
8125. Could you see the horizon? - [Groves] No, you could not see where the horizon in the sky finished but you could see stars right down as far as the sea.
8126. According to your judgment was there anything in the shape of a haze? - No, nothing whatsoever.
8127. None? - None.

Keep in mind that these observations were from the height of a ship's bridge where the horizon, if it were visible, would be about 8 miles or more off, while from a person seated in a lifeboat, it would be only about 2 1/2 miles off. According to Beesley's description, the separation of sea and sky was very noticeable from the boat. By the way, according to many accounts the sea was extremely smooth, like a sheet of glass as one person put it. A star about to set as seen from someone in a boat would make an angle of incidence with the water close to 90°, exactly where the reflectivity curve for light striking water reaches 100%. It would create a strong reflection on an extremely smooth sea just as it sets, creating the appearance of a split star image, one above the other, to someone in a lifeboat. This would not be the case for heights at deck levels or higher.

According to Boxhall, he was asked how he came to the conclusion that the steamer he observed was about 5 miles away.

Senator BURTON: You saw nothing of the hull of the boat?
Mr. BOXHALL: Oh, no; it was too dark. I have already stated, in answer to a question, how far this ship was away from us, that I thought she was about 5 miles, and I arrived at it in this way. The masthead lights of a steamer are required by the board of trade regulations to show for 5 miles, and the signals [sidelights?] are required to show for 2 miles.
...
Senator BURTON. You saw not only the mast light but the side lights?
Mr. BOXHALL. I saw the side lights. Whatever ship she was had beautiful lights. I think we could see her lights more than the regulation distance, but I do not think we could see them 14 miles.

Nothing to do with any horizon, miraged or otherwise. Besides, a mirage is a bending of light. What light is being bent that would be enough to show up as a raised horizon. The black of the sea does not bend up.



The height of the berg was about 70-75 ft,below the level of the crow's nest . The horizon if it were visible from the crow's nest would be some 11 miles away. The peak of the berg would be below that level. There was no camouflaging of the iceberg as I've told you on more than one occasion.
Hi Sam, Groves (like Lightoller and Beesley - and others) said he could see the stars "right down as far as the sea", so they could tell where the level of the horizon was. It is also a fact that a major component of judging distance at sea is how ships appear relative to the horizon: a ship hull-down will be assumed to be a dozen miles or so away just over the horizon, and a ship half way within the horizon will be judged to be about five miles away.

Re the iceberg height, Titanic's Bridge observer eye height was about 70 feet above the sea and her crows nest observer eye height was about 92 feet above the sea. The "tip top" of the berg was seen going by the bridge, making that part of the berg at least about 70 feet above the sea. It was certainly not "70-75ft below the crows nest". I have included earlier in this thread the ray-bending diagrams Andy and I did showing how parts of the berg could have been obscured by the low contrast of a miraging strip at the horizon.

Thanks and best, Tim
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jim Currie
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Really? Then how you explain why Beesley saw only 2 lights (one of which was a mirage according to you). Should not he had seen 4 lights? Why nobody saw double sidelights? No, Boxhall’s description of an approaching steamer is not a description of a miraged steamer.
A miraged steamer really does look like an approaching steamer. Her light will rise up and double into two and the changing atmosphere will make it revert and get smaller and then rise up and get bigger again. The light will rise up so much that it will appear on a second invisible horizon and reflect underneath. The bottom light will also turn red (depending on the intensity of the inferior refraction).

light1-png.png


It could easily be mistaken for a masthead light and red port light.

lighthouse2-png.png


The light has risen up onto the false second horizon and reflected / inverted underneath.

refraction3.png


If there was a red port light it would be low down and close to the surface and it would not be high enough above the surface to double in appearance. The masthead light would because it was much higher up, and its reflection would be very visible, while the red light would look the same in the middle.

e.g. If there was a red port light it would look like this at various times of the evening as the refraction fluctuated big and small.

refraction4.png


Just like the butterfly's wings. Everything close to the line (the second horizon) would appear the same. Refraction makes the second horizon hazy which would also mask everything within it including a light. This is why the survivors could not even say with certainty that it was a light because it was in a haze/glare due to the inferior refracted horizon.

mirage1a.png


e.g. A stationary ship 20 miles away will rise up and double itself.

Mr. Crawford
"Sometimes she seemed to get closer; other times she seemed to be getting away from us......we could not seem to make any headway."

Q - What lights on her did you see? One masthead or two masthead lights?
A - Two masthead lights.
Q - You say you rowed how long?
A - Until we left the ship, because the ladies urged us to pull for the ship.
Q - Until daylight?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - And you got no nearer to that light?
A - We did not seem to be making any headway at all, sir.

mirage2a.png


This is why the witnesses were continually contradicting each other, despite the fact they were looking at the same thing.

Same principal applies to the aircraft carrier that was well beyond the horizon, but was levitated up ontop of a second horizon and inverted. If she were showing a green side light many decks above the surface then it would appear to rise higher and higher as the refraction intensified, while the reflected second green light would remain hidden because it would drop lower and lower over the horizon as the the refraction got bigger and the green light and masthead light would continue to rise higher and higher.

refractionlight.png


I believe this is why Gibson saw her masthead light and red port light getting higher and higher and he mistakenly believed she was listing heavily to starboard and when it got worse he really was totally baffled by what he saw.

Californian - Gibson
"Her sidelights seemed to be higher out of the water."

Q - Did you look to see whether these after-lights seemed higher up out of the water, or lower in the water?
A - I noticed them all at the same time.
Q - What, the red light and the others too?
A - Yes.
Q - And do you mean that the white light (forward masthead light) seemed higher out of the water as well as the red light?
A - Yes.

He would not have a clue why her lights were all rising higher in unison and partially doubling in the glare. If he was accused of drinking on duty I doubt he would admit to seeing double.

Q - What was the difference?
A - That I cannot say.
Q - Were they in the same position as they were before?
A - They were in the same position, but they seemed to look different.
Q - They merely seemed to look different?
A - Yes.
Q - Am I to understand that, as far as you could tell, the position of the white lights had not changed?
A - They seemed to have changed, but I cannot say how.
Q - Changed in what sense? How had they changed?
A - They did not look the same as they did before.
Q - I know; you have said that two or three times, and you have been asked what the difference was, and I should have thought you could have told us what the difference was. What was it?
A - I cannot say, my Lord.
Q - Cannot you tell us what the difference was?
A - No.

This would also explain why Stone observed her rockets bursting close to her masthead light because her lights were rising higher up and magnifying due to the strong inferior refraction which masked her true distance and appearance and created the illusion her rockets were bursting close to her elevated masthead light..
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
M

Mila

Guest
Refraction makes the second horizon hazy which would also mask everything within it including a light.
I have never seen clearer horizon than the ones I see during inferior mirage displays. There is no haze whatsoever.
A miraged steamer really does look like an approaching steamer. Her light will rise up and double into two and the changing atmosphere will make it revert and get smaller and then rise up and get bigger again.
of course miraged steamer does not look as approaching one. However professional Mariner Boxhall who was watching Californian on and off for at least an hour described her as gradually approaching and then leaving.
He would not have a clue why her lights were all rising higher in unison and partially doubling in the glare. If he was accused of drinking on duty I doubt he would admit to seeing double.
it will be very helpful if you are to stop inventing what Gibson was thinking. Mirages were well known in 1912, and if Gibson saw double lights, he would have said so. He was watching sinking Titanic, not miraging Titanic. You and Tim are denying any intelligence to all eyewitnesses, including professional Mariners, who saw the lights but according to you failed to realize they were watching a mirage. And then 100+ years later Tim and Aaron “explained” to everybody what Boxhall, Gibson, Stone, Lightoller Groves and others really saw.
If there was a red port light it would be low down and close to the surface and it would not be high enough above the surface to double in appearance. The masthead light would because it was much higher up, and its reflection would be very visible, while the red light would look the same in the middle.
Aaron, with this comment you have demonstrated yet another time that you do not understand how inferior mirages form.
With this I give up arguing with you. It is a pity that other people who might have never heard about mirages will get “educated” by your posts.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
The same could be applied to your assessment of the atmospheric conditions in that area and eye witness reports which verify the refraction. Boxhall did not even know they had struck an iceberg despite walking passed it. He also had no idea they turned northwards and he told the Inquiry that he believed the ship was still facing west, which also rules out the alleged hard left turn towards the south as well.

Boxhall
"I do not see how it was possible for the Titanic to be swinging after the engines were stopped. I forget when it was I noticed the engines were stopped, but I did notice it; and there was absolutely nothing to cause the Titanic to swing." So he did not believe anything could swing the ship, not even the currents which could swing any ship that was not anchored.

He did not know when the Titanic stopped engines and made no reference to them starting again despite the numerous reports from other survivors that they did proceed again including Lightoller. Boxhall also stated that he first noticed the light of the other ship off the starboard bow and watched it move over to their port bow. He did not realize the Titanic was swinging northwards which made the light pass across their bow and when they stopped engines they would slowly drift closer. That would be the only period in which they would have approached the other vessel. For the rest of the night the ship did not move closer because the Titanic had stopped.

Mr. Crawford - "They were stationary masthead lights."

Mr. Buley - "She was stationary all night."

Pitman - Q - You think this white light you saw was stationary? A - "I do."

Fleet - Q - Was it moving, or was it stationary? - A - "It did not seem to be moving at all."

Rowe - "It was the only stationary light."

Boxhall admitted that he was sitting in his cabin drinking tea and when he went below decks to look for damage he found a man holding a piece of ice and he asked him where he got it from, which means he did not even know the ice had fallen onto the deck despite being on the bridge (allegedly) and looking over the bridge wing right after the collision with Murdoch and the Captain. He also denied all knowledge that they were expecting to encounter ice that night, despite the fact it was on the chart and he was on duty with Murdoch who was looking for ice and the lookouts had special orders to keep a sharp lookout for ice. The key witnesses testimonies are riddled with self protecting deceptions and incompetency's.

3rd officer Pitman felt the collison and he thought they were stopping to anchor somewhere in mid ocean. 5th officer Lowe for some bizarre reason got up and grabbed his gun. "I first of all went and got my revolver." Q - What for? A - "Well, sir; you never know when you will need it." He claimed that he only fired it when his boat was being lowered and that he put the safety catch on, but there are several eye witnesses who saw him fire it again several times after the Titanic had gone down and he saw one of the collapsible boats. He was afraid the occupants would swim towards his boat and swamp it, so he fired it repeatedly to caution them all not to try anything foolish. Yet he failed to mention any of that at the Inquiry. Quartermaster Hichens thought there was a buoy floating near by and he wanted to row towards it.

Major Peuchen
"He thought probably it might be a buoy out there of some kind, and he called out to the next boat, which was within hearing, asking if he knew if there was any buoy around there. This struck me as being perfectly absurd, and showed me the man did not know anything about navigating, expecting to see a buoy in the middle of the Atlantic."

The captain never bothered to assemble the officers and notify them officially of the situation. Mr. Woolner saw the captain trying to organise the passengers and make a mess of it from the start because he forgot the Titanic had an enclosed promenade deck. e.g. Mr. Woolner - "He said: "I want all the passengers to go down on A deck, because I intend they shall go into the boats from A deck." I remembered noticing as I came up that all those glass windows were raised to the very top; and I went up to the captain and saluted him and said: "Haven't you forgotten, sir, that all those glass windows are closed?" He said: "By God, you are right. Call those people back."

The list goes on. The crew were certainly not professional by today's standards, but they were back in 1912 when 70 percent of the world's population could not read or write. Steam ships, safety protocols, and wireless technology were still in their infancy. White Star employed good loyal men, and their actions coupled with those of the Californian crew is all we can go by. Many changes and advancements would be made, especially during the many perils and mistakes made during the First World War. With each disaster more knowledge and experienced is gained and the guide books are revised and studied..
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mar 22, 2003
5,047
591
273
Chicago, IL, USA
Hmmm? It seems that a chunk of text got accidentally erased when I wrote:
"The height of the berg was about 70-75 ft,below the level of the crow's nest ."
What it was supposed to read was:
The height of the berg was about 70-75 ft above the water, about 20 ft below the level of the crow's nest .
crows_nest_view.gif

At the level of the nest, the visible horizon (if it were visible) would be about 0.15° below the horizontal line. This is known as dip and is accounted for when taking sights. The angular height of the iceberg, base to peak, would be about 1.3° when the berg was 1/2 mile away. It's peak would be about 0.25° below the horizon (0.4° below the horizontal) as seen from the nest. You could fit half the diameter of a full moon between the horizon and the peak of the berg at that distance.
 
M

Mila

Guest
The same could be applied to your assessment of the atmospheric conditions in that area and eye witness reports which verify the refraction.
No, it could not.
Refraction cannot be seen. One should see a mirage and/or looming to talk about refraction. There is no any single confirmed eyewitness’s account from either passengers and/or officers from either Titanic, Californian or Carpathia who described seeing a mirage or looming, at the time of the disaster, none, Aaron. Just the opposite, many eyewitnesses accounts points into the direction of the standard atmosphere ,
 
  • Like
Reactions: Samuel Halpern

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
Jim, the funniest part of this is that Tim would argue that Marengo reporting refraction being in much warmer waters for a few hundred miles around the wreck site is a very important evidence, while the Titanic’s officers and passengers not seeing any evidence of refraction while being in cold waters 100 miles from the wreck site could be dismissed because they were too far away.
Hi Mila, this is not strange or inconsistent. At 7.30pm Titanic had only just started to approach the freezing waters of the Labrador current. Indeed, as you can see from this graph below, the water was still about three degrees and the air about 4 degrees:

upload_2019-2-2_9-14-18.png

Marengo reported "Great refraction" in 41.14N, 48.37W, when both the air and sea temperatures were 33F. Titanic did not arrive at this longitude until 9pm that night, when she also recorded that the air was 33F. This was bang in the middle of Symons's watch, where the Ryan inquiry concluded:

GEORGE SYMONS, Titanic lookout, 8 to 10pm - 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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
Hi Rob,

Tim is a very nice person.

However, if you want me to spell it out, here it is.

As Charles Bukowski said

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid people are full of confidence.”

And it precisely what Tim did and does in his book, his documentary and on this forum. Tim is full of confidence.

Here is an example.

Tim has never seen a superior mirage.
There is no any image of a night time mirage which does not involve a light or the Moon.
There is no any description of a night time mirage-associated haze.
Yet Tim keeps stating over and over and over again that he has good reasons to believe lookouts and others saw miraged strip.
What reasons one could possibly have to believe this?

Another example.
Tim has never seen a Fata Burmosa (A Fata Morgana of the sea surface).
There is no any image and/or any description of the phenomenon observed at nighttime with the stars. I am not aware about any Fata Burmosa observed even with the Moon.
As I said earlier polar explorers spent month and month of polar nights in Antarctica, and apperantly have never seen this with the stars.
Furthermore, any mirage is a vertical feature confied to a narrow strip of sky at the horizon. It cannot send long beams of light towards an observer.
Furthermore, I saw dozen of Fata Burmosas on bright sunny days. However, at nighttime they probably would be all, but undetectable. Even on daytime one sometimes needs binoculars to see one.
As I explained above there is no single record of nighttime Fata Burmosa display.
The weather conditions (floating mist) indicates that the ocean was warmer than the air, not the right condition for a Fata Burmosa to occur.
So under the circumstances I listed above what kind of person could be sure that Beesley’s poetic narrative described Fata Burmosa ?
And there are more examples of the same unreasonable confidence.

Mirages are very complex phenomena. I saw hundreds of them, and studied them and wrote articles about them and there are still many things that I do not understand.


So it is how I came to my conclusion although maybe I should not have gotten personal.

All the best.
Thanks for acknowledging that I am a nice person Mila, which is true. You are now misspelling Fata Brumosa. I do believe that the lookouts descriptions could be describing a miraging strip at the horizon. I am not sure that Beesley's description is inadvertently describing Fata Brumosa, but it could be, because the "vertical features" you describe in the narrow strip at the horizon could look like beams from stars coming towards the viewer, when in fact they are starlight refracting in the duct. Mirages are indeed complex phenomena, and that is why you cannot rule them out that night, given the conditions and position. The pressure was too high for normal mist and sea smoke would not explain the apparent haze on the horizon.
 

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
Right, except there is no mention of Tim’s most important evidence, namely haze at the horizon , in the articles you quoted and there is no mention of anything being upside down in the Titanic’s situation.

And, no, it is not dark at 4:30 in January in New York. The sun set at 4:52 on January 12, 1914 and then of course there was twilight.

In addition, I am not even sure it was a superior mirage of New York. For example here are a few images of superior mirages of Chicago Photos: The Chicago Skyline, Seen From Michigan (!), Thanks To An Incredible Mirage
IMO they cannot be described as upside down Chicago. A superior mirage produces at least one erected and one inverted image of a miraged object.
Below is an image of an inferior mirage of houses I photographed. Are they upside down?
View attachment 43658

Was it even a mirage at all? A mirage with such heavy vapour that a professional pilot refuses to enter the familiar port seems highly unlikely. Maybe it was New York in fog, as it is shown here http://www.nymetroweather.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/BeBsdkOCYAAXG3j.jpg-large.jpeg that appeared upside down due to some strange light?

The same applies to the ship. Where was the errected image of the ship as it is shown here?

View attachment 43659
Also, I have posted this link before but probably it worth to repost it here Reconstructing the prevailing meteorological and optical environment during the time of the Titanic disaster

This is a scientific research written by dynamic meteorologists

They concluded that super refraction was not present at the time and in the place of the disaster.
Mila, what you cite is a very short little paper that simply says that because the air temperature was zero and the sea temperature was zero then there could not have been abnormal refraction at the time of the Titanic disaster. However, ships in the area did record abnormal refraction when the "ASTD field is negative". For example, Marengo reported "Great refraction" when both the Air and Sea temperatures were each 33F; and Deutschland recorded "Fata Morgana (Luftspiegelung)" when the water was 13.3 and the air was 11.8. So the ASTD here was very negative and still superior mirage was observed.

I too used ICOADS data but unfortunately this dataset was rounded to the nearest degree when it was computerised in the 1950's and put onto punch-cards. This took the required sensitivity of resolution out of this data. Perhaps this is partly why the article you cite concluded:

While the simulated results presented here verified reasonably well with historical synoptic weather records, it is important to point out that our simulations, like all atmospheric simulations, suffer from some degree of uncertainty. Most notably, we expect that factors such as initial and boundary conditions, horizontal and vertical grid resolutions, turbulence parameterization, atmospheric-oceanic coupling, and the parameterization of icebergs to be possible important sources of uncertainty in our simulations. We intend to quantify the levels of uncertainty associated with a few of these areas in the near-future.

Although the air temperature around the icebergs had equalised with the sea temperature at Titanic's crash site, we know the air higher up was indeed significantly warmer, despite what that essay you linked to above referred to as the cold front having moved in by that time! Given the lack of resolution of the ICOADS data which that report used, eye witness evidence is more useful here:

Important confirmation that there was indeed a strong thermal inversion at Titanic’s wreck site comes from First Class passenger Philipp Edmund Mock who observed the smoke from the sinking liner, from Lifeboat Number 11:

“We were probably a mile away when the Titanic’s lights went out. I last saw the ship with her stern high in the air going down. After the noise I saw a huge column of black smoke slightly lighter than the sky rising high into the sky and then flattening out at the top like a mushroom.”

The warm smoke from Titanic flattened out above 200ft in the air, when it met air warmer than itself, which it could no longer rise up through.

The inversion can be above the surface for refraction effects to be observed.

Best wishes, Tim
 

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
Hello Tim.

No, I do not base my 7 pm DR position on the evidence of 4th Officer Boxhall, but on that of 5th Officer Lowe who indicated that Titanic slowed down between Noon April 14 and 6 pm that evening. I also base it on the evidence of Lightholler who stated that the clocks were altered before the impact with the ice. This means that the run time from the time of impact back top 7 pm was about 5 hours, nor 4 hours 40 minutes.

Morengo's "much refraction" is not based on mirage evidence since they would have to have been seeing one at regular intervals. In fact, one of the entries tells you. "4 pm: Much refraction on the horizon"
I have looked at the weather log . here is a value for Much refraction:

Mean refraction values are calculated using standard air temperature at bridge height...50F and a barometer level at the same height of 29.6 inches
Morengo recorded an air temperature of 0.5 C and a barometer reading of 1039.6 mb. The calculation is as follows.
Mean refraction value: 0 degrees...34.9 minutes of arc .
Correction for temp. 0 degrees... 1.4 minutes of arc.
Correction for Baro. 0 degrees... 1.4 minutes of arc.
Value of "much refraction "...................2.8 minutes of arc

The total value for refraction to be allowed for at sea level in the above case, was 34.9 + 2.8 = 37.7 minutes of arc...almost three-quarters of a degree.
If the temperature had dropped to -9.5C and the barometer had risen to 1050.0 mb, then the correction for refraction would have been 4.3 minutes of arc. Now that would truly have been "great refraction."

Hope this helps.

Jim.
Thanks Jim, I agree with you that there was much refraction in the area, and your calculations are most helpful in this respect, but I also think those Marengo log entries are recording a visual phenomena in the comments section. Sometimes the refraction is revealed later, after some discrepant observations are re-reduced and made accordant by allowing for a systematic error in the dip. But this would not usually have been done in time to be entered in the log; it's usually an afterthought, on the
rare occasions when it is re-reduced. Best, Tim
 

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
There were two people in the crow's nest that night between 10 and midnight. Both testified as to the conditions they saw.Both mentioned seeing 'haze'. But neither of them would agree on the extent and severity of that haze. Lee said it appeared all around the horizon and stated that at one point in time he told Fleet that they would be lucky to get through it, or some words to that effect. Fleet said that the only haze he saw was bout 10-15 minutes before the collision, and it was directly ahead of them extending from 2 points to either side of dead ahead, and nothing to really talk about. Fleet also emphatically denied being told by Lee that they would be lucky to get through it. In other words, one of them was lying.

As Jim pointed out in some post somewhere, you cannot see haze at night unless it is very close by. Anybody want to guess why? You also cannot see a mirage at night unless there is enough light to be miraged.
The last point I want to make is that haze or a mirage had nothing to do with when the iceberg was sighted. The berg was sighted when the ship came close enough for it to seen by the reflected starlight. It was well below the level of where the horizon would have been if it were visible, which it wasn't. The lookouts could not tell where the sky ended and the sea began. Some attributed the lack of clear dividing line to haze on the horizon.
Hi Sam, I don't think the Lookouts were lying, so much as having an uphill struggle to tell the truth about the haze they saw that night, when Lightoller and others testified to the extreme clarity of the night. Here is what they variously said about the haze that night, just taken from the 1913 Ryan trial, along with some other interesting quotes from that trial and mirage experts:


REGINALD ROBINSON LEE, Titanic lookout 10-11.40pm The sea was calm; the sky was clear. It was cold. There was a haze on the water.

A portion of the berg was above the haze. When he saw the berg he did not think he could see the lower part of it below the haze. If the whole berg had been covered with haze he would not have seen it so soon.

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


FREDERICK FLEET, Titanic lookout, 10-11.40pm - There was a very slight haze on the horizon, but it did not hinder them in performing their duties.


GEORGE SYMONS, Titanic lookout, 8 to 10pm - 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.


Mr JOSEPH GROVES BOXHALL, Titanic's navigating officer - She [Californian] was approximately five miles away. There was no haze which interfered with his view.


Mr Charles Lightoller, Titanic's most senior surviving officer - By the time he turned in there was no change in the weather. On such a night a berg could be seen at least three miles. He was in his bunk when the shock of the collision came. When he went on deck the weather was then identically the same, perfectly calm and clear.


Captain BERTRAM FOX HAYES, experienced Captain on the Atlantic - In clear weather in the ice region it was his practice to maintain his course at full speed. The danger of the ice region was not a danger of ice, but a danger of fog.

He (Captain Smith) was a careful navigator, and never took a risk or in his opinion came to an unwise decision. He also knew Mr Murdoch, who had been an officer under him. He was a capable, efficient, and zealous officer.

Cross-examined by Mr Campbell – If he had reason to suppose that he was coming into an area where icebergs and growlers were very thick, he would go full speed until he saw the ice.


Key new scientific facts

1039mb pressure at Titanic's crash site was too high for fog.


Dr Andrew T Young, one of the world's leading atmospheric refraction experts - "The superior mirage is often associated with an appearance of "fog" at the horizon, because one sees much further than usual in the mirage strip below the "false horizon""


W Kelly, American scientist, 1832 - "There was generally with the mirage an appearance of a fog bank on the horizon...the air within the horizon was at the same time perfectly clear."

As aaron's newspaper reports show, the optical effects at the horizon are variously described as mist, fog, cloud, smoke, etc. There are also several different phenomena involved: one is the Fata Brumosa, which is well treated in Siebren van der Werf's paper in Applied Optics in 2017 in which he discusses the Hafgerdingar, and briefly mentioned in Andy's paper with Eric Frappa that is adjacent to this; but there are other things of this sort associated with inversions and super-refraction that are not well understood at all. A nice example at Lake Biwa is at

new hot image

This is something often associated with Fata Morgana reports; it would likely be called "fog" or "haze" by an unskilled observer; and it is certainly not Mila's "sea smoke".

Thanks and best, Tim
 
Last edited:

Jim Currie

Member
Apr 16, 2008
4,619
519
183
Funchal. Madeira
Thanks Jim, I agree with you that there was much refraction in the area, and your calculations are most helpful in this respect, but I also think those Marengo log entries are recording a visual phenomena in the comments section. Sometimes the refraction is revealed later, after some discrepant observations are re-reduced and made accordant by allowing for a systematic error in the dip. But this would not usually have been done in time to be entered in the log; it's usually an afterthought, on the
rare occasions when it is re-reduced. Best, Tim
Hello Tim.

I'm afraid that as a professional navigator, I do not recognise the suggestion that somehow an Officer made a mistake in his sextant altitude calculations and that the remarks concerning refraction were added at a later date. The corrections for Dip and Refraction were second nature to the most junior of deck officers. Even a Second year Cadet would do that little bit of calculation automatically.
You must not confuse the Log books of Morengo. She obviously had thee of them...The Scrap Log...The Official Log Book and the Meteorological Log Book.
The Scrap Log recorded events as they happened in so much as how such events affected the voyage. Mirages or normal phenomenon (of which there are many at sea) would not be recorded... even the sighting of rockets on the horizon (believe it or not). However, since Morengo was keeping a Met Office Log, the Officer of the Watch would record the readings at the end of each Watch.
Both the Official Log Book and the Met Log were developed from the information recorded on the Scrap Log and were written-up in retrospect, The first by the Chief Officer each morning and by the Second Officer after breakfast.
Have a careful look at the Morengo's Met Log entries.
You will not that the refraction notations are made at regular intervals of 4 hours, at the end of each Watch...never in the middle. in fact, on the 14 the refraction remarks are exactly 4 hours out at 8 am and again at Noon. This suggests they were entered as an afterthought or that the Officer responsible as Weather Observer made a mistake transcribing from the Official Log Book into the Weather Log Book.
 
M

Mila

Guest
This is something often associated with Fata Morgana reports; it would likely be called "fog" or "haze" by an unskilled observer; and it is certainly not Mila's "sea smoke".
Tim, none of the haze descriptions given by any witness does not support mirage-associated haze, none, Tim.
 
M

Mila

Guest
Deutschland recorded "Fata Morgana (Luftspiegelung)"
Here we go again. Dr. Young told you that German’s word “Luftspiegelung” is “mirage”. Why you keep calling it “Fata Morgana” in your book and here?
Also, Tim, please try to understand that it does not matter what other ships saw. A cold front that passed the area of the disaster just a few hours prior to the collision lowered the air temperature very much, and prevented super refraction from forming.
 

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
Hmmm? It seems that a chunk of text got accidentally erased when I wrote:
"The height of the berg was about 70-75 ft,below the level of the crow's nest ."
What it was supposed to read was:
The height of the berg was about 70-75 ft above the water, about 20 ft below the level of the crow's nest .
View attachment 43703
At the level of the nest, the visible horizon (if it were visible) would be about 0.15° below the horizontal line. This is known as dip and is accounted for when taking sights. The angular height of the iceberg, base to peak, would be about 1.3° when the berg was 1/2 mile away. It's peak would be about 0.25° below the horizon (0.4° below the horizontal) as seen from the nest. You could fit half the diameter of a full moon between the horizon and the peak of the berg at that distance.
Thanks Sam, I agree that when the berg was seen half a mile away it was seen mainly against the sea. What I am interested in is why it was not seen earlier, when part of it should have been seen against the horizon. As these simulations created by Professor Andy Young show,
when the berg was 3 miles away it was about half obscured by the miraging strip:
upload_2019-2-2_14-36-49.png


But when the berg was half a mile away it was spotted against the sea, because it's apparent angular size against the sea was then large enough to be noticed in the scotopic conditions:

upload_2019-2-2_14-40-45.png
 
M

Mila

Guest
but I also think those Marengo log entries are recording a visual phenomena in the comments section
Tim, we have talked about this earlier. How one could think that they recordered “a visual phenomena” if refraction cannot be visualized without seeing actual mirage or looming, and if they saw it, why did not they record seeing it?
 

T Maltin

Member
Dec 27, 2018
139
10
18
Here we go again. Dr. Young told you that German’s word “Luftspiegelung” is “mirage”. Why you keep calling it “Fata Morgana” in your book and here?
Also, Tim, please try to understand that it does not matter what other ships saw. A cold front that passed the area of the disaster just a few hours prior to the collision lowered the air temperature very much, and prevented super refraction from forming.
Hi Mila, Deutschland's log was translated for me by Wolfgang Gloeden of the Deutscher Wetterdienst Climate Data Centre in Hamburg, Germany, where I found the log book, as follows:
upload_2019-2-2_14-52-14.png

And that cold front had not passed Titanic's wreck site as the essay you cited said it had, based on ICOADS data. My data is based on the ships logs that made up the ICOADS data set. In their logs I can see the red and blue crayon of the ICOADS inputters. They rounded the data up and down to the nearest degree or half degree, whereas the original ships logs I was looking at have the data to the nearest mile (not the nearest 30 miles or more, as the ICOADS data preserved it).
Thank you, Tim