Debunking the "Ghost Ship"

A video trending You Tube shows a blurry object on Lake Superior. The was video take Saturday October 8th and posted Monday October 10th.  

The photographer writes, "Saturday evening far off coast from Marquette, Michigan appeared this mysterious ship that had to be gigantic! Almost as if a ghost ship was showing itself to the world.. Even if it was a ship, what could be that tall in these choppy waves? "

In short, it's a sail boat. This simple explanation is this was atmospheric refraction caused by the difference in temperature between the water and the air. Saturday the high in Marquette, MI was 49° while water temps on Lake Superior are still in the 50s.

This is the same process when in summer the hot road surface causes a mirage and distortion in the air above the road. Mirage and other forms of atmospheric refraction are common on the Great Lakes. This was featured in depth in our feature story Skyline Skepticism.

The reason only the top of the boat is seen has to do with the distance from the observer and the curvature of the earth. Ships disappear on the horizon bottom top.

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