What is going on in this picture?

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owlice
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What is going on in this picture?

Postby owlice » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:10 pm

A friend of mine suggested you may be able to explain the blue haze on the horizon of the attached, the photo was taken one morning while on a sailing holiday in Greece and accurately reflects what I saw – I thought it was an illusion and never expected it to show on the image.

Upon questioning, this additional information was provided:
The image was taken with the camera on my Z10 phone set on auto; I think the file properties have that sort of info in there.
We were sailing around the Gulf of Volos in Greece at the time, having left a small anchorage called Nies at around 6.30 that morning, heading out of the Gulf.
The photo was taken around 8.30am on May 7th by which time we think we would have been passing the Trikeri Penisula (on the right), I don’t have the charts here so can’t give you a name for the tip of land to the left as it isn’t named on google maps. Our position would be around 39o 3’N, 23o 4’E.
That morning was cool and very still, the sky had thin broken cloud when we set off, and there were some pockets of early morning mist over the land but not a blanket of it. The day before there had been some wind, but nothing above a F5, and no storms.

HicksGreeceWater.jpg

Is this Rayleigh scattering? Or is something else going on in this image? Please help; thank you!
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Chris Peterson
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:49 pm

owlice wrote:Is this Rayleigh scattering? Or is something else going on in this image? Please help; thank you!

Yes, this is caused by Rayleigh scattering. We almost always see distant hills and mountains as blue or blue-purple. That's because of the scattering of blue light in the intervening air. In some cases, the effect is extreme, as when plants emit hydrocarbon molecules which create scattering centers (for instance, in the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains), or in this case, where the air is rich with water molecules just over the surface of the sea.

In absolute terms, the blue we're seeing is very typical:


The almost complete lack of color in the sea and in the foggy sky, however, really make the color stand out, giving it a lot more impact.
Chris

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owlice
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby owlice » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:11 pm

Chris, thanks very much! I'm happy to have an answer for this imager; thank you!

Yes, that it stands out so much is what made me ask; I could not find another image of water that was like this one, with such a sharp blue line. It is quite striking. She sent a sunrise image that is really nice, too, to demonstrate what the early morning weather had been.
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby geckzilla » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:30 pm

Did she see the effect visually too? Seems pretty cool. Edit: I finally re-read the first post and saw the first quote box to realize it was indeed seen with eyes. I guess I subconsciously ignore quote boxes...
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Chris Peterson
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:35 pm

owlice wrote:Chris, thanks very much! I'm happy to have an answer for this imager; thank you!

Yes, that it stands out so much is what made me ask; I could not find another image of water that was like this one, with such a sharp blue line. It is quite striking. She sent a sunrise image that is really nice, too, to demonstrate what the early morning weather had been.

This is just speculation, but I think the reason the horizon line appears so sharply defined is because we may not be seeing water to the horizon. It looks to me like we may be seeing a reflection off of air just above the water surface, so the more distant water may actually be showing sky. Most everybody is familiar with this mirage commonly seen looking down warm roads.
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby geckzilla » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:56 pm

It's kind of like... there is water vapor in the sky enough to make it gray rather than blue and not so much water vapor at the surface of the water. Plain oxygen and nitrogen, maybe.
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Chris Peterson
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby Chris Peterson » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:00 pm

geckzilla wrote:It's kind of like... there is water vapor in the sky enough to make it gray rather than blue and not so much water vapor at the surface of the water. Plain oxygen and nitrogen, maybe.

Water vapor is a gas, essentially invisible. Where we see white, we're probably seeing scatter from much larger droplets. Not vapor, but fog.
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geckzilla
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby geckzilla » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:06 pm

Ok, that's what I meant. Water vapor was the wrong word. Since the scatter is related to the size of the particles, it only makes sense that larger particles result in whiteness in the sky while smaller ones at the surface are scattering blue light. This is opposite from what we usually see with fog which tends to sit on the surface and the sky above may be blue. That is why it looks somewhat surreal.
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Ann
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby Ann » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:14 pm

It looks beautiful. Owlice's friend was lucky to see it.

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owlice
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby owlice » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:40 am

Chris Peterson wrote:This is just speculation, but I think the reason the horizon line appears so sharply defined is because we may not be seeing water to the horizon. It looks to me like we may be seeing a reflection off of air just above the water surface, so the more distant water may actually be showing sky. Most everybody is familiar with this mirage commonly seen looking down warm roads.

A mirage was my second thought on this; I didn't ask whether there are other images taken -- I will, though -- but others taken from a slightly higher or lower vantage point might make it clearer as to whether there is a mirage. If there is one here, it's very narrow.

Thanks again!
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geckzilla
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby geckzilla » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:50 am

Post all the pics. I'm not even 100% convinced it's not fake, haha... I mean, it looks real, but it looks fake, but it looks real, but...
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owlice
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby owlice » Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:01 am

If the imager sends more that might shed light on this, I surely will post them. I may ask Les Cowley to weigh in, too. I didn't find anything quite like this on his site; I did look.

It's an interesting, and beautiful, shot!
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dllamas
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Re: What is going on in this picture?

Postby dllamas » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:03 pm

Interesting


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