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No. 15: Spring 1981

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The Novaya Zemlya Effect

Rarely, as the long polar night draws to a close, the sun will suddenly burst above the horizon weeks ahead of schedule. This is the Novaya Zemiya Effect, and it is basically a polar mirage. Even when the sun is still 5 below the horizon, its light can become trapped between thermoclines and be transmitted over the usual horizon. The atmospheric ducts act much like flat light pipes. In the Novalya Zemlya Effect the sun's image is grossly distorted, quite different from the high quality mirages sometimes seen over hundreds of miles in the polar latitudes.

(Anonymous; "New Light on Novaya Zemlya Polar Mirage," Physics Today, 34: 21, January 1981.)

Reference. Related atmospheric phenomena are collected in Section GEM in our Catalog: Rare Halos. More information on this book here.

Triple Novaya Zemlya Effect Triple Novaya Zemlya Effect.
Three distorted images of a sun still well below the horizon.

From Science Frontiers #15, Spring 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss