When do we see mirages?

Mirages form in hot deserts where the air is so hot it bends and distorts light rays. The shimmering images that a mirage produces have often tricked travellers in deserts. People think that they can see an oasis or town on the horizon, but in reality it is not there.

Under certain conditions, such as a stretch of pavement or desert air heated by intense sunshine, the air rapidly cools with elevation and therefore increases in density and refractive power. Sunlight reflected downward from the top of an object. When the sky is the object of the mirage, the land is mistaken for a lake or sheet of water.

Fact File:

About one-third of the world’s land surface is covered by desert. Deserts are found wherever there is too little water to allow much plant life to grow. Salt deserts form when shallow seas and lakes dry up, leaving a deposit of smooth salt.


Picture Credit : Google