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    My new island
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2012 Jul 27, 15:13 -0700

    Two days ago, I saw a great land mass to the south of Narragansett Bay and east of Block Island. It had distinct hills and some variations in color. I would estimate that the vertical "undulations" in its profile were on the order of two minutes of arc high with a typical horizontal scale of about two degrees. It was right on the horizon and my height of eye was about fifty feet, so if I had seen this at sea I would have placed it around ten miles away at minimum and since the "hills" could have been hundreds of feet high, I might have recorded it as "about thirty miles" away. It was visible with a sextant telescope, but not quite as clear.

    Of course this was actually a case of unusual refraction, and quite impressive. It really looked just like a distant island. I even saw a boat "enter port". That is, the boat was visible for a while in front of the faux island and then as the refraction changed it disappeared, presumably back beyond the horizon where it belonged. There are many well-documented historical cases of sightings of major islands where no island existed. They're often explained in terms of lighting effects, dense clouds at the horizon, ice islands, and various combinations of these phenomena. Anomalous refraction works, too! The "island" was surprisingly stable and lasted about five minutes in approximately the same shape.

    And me without a camera... Not even a Smartphone... Grrr.


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