Bizarre phenomenon seen from Pembrokeshire coast

Published: Wednesday 21st Aug 2013

Written by: Anita Lee

When Adrian Owens saw the some of the islands off Pembrokeshire's coast, he knew something strange was happening. The islands, and the ships on the horizon (which were bizarrely magnified), were mirrored in the sky. From the coast, a lovely area for anyone enjoying a nearby cottage holiday in Pembrokeshire, Owens saw the islands of South Bishop, The Bishops and Clerks and Grassholm like nobody ever has before.

What Owens witnessed was a phenomenon called a ‘superior image’. This happens when the air below someone’s line of sight is cooler than the air above it, which caused the light from the islands to bend down towards Owens. This meant that he saw the inverted image of the islands above the horizon.

Seen on the weekend starting 13th July, this was observed during uncommonly warm conditions over Wales, with the sea at around 15 or 16°C. The warm air from the land would have drifted over the cool sea surface – leading to a great temperature inversion. These turned out to be the perfect factors to cause such a strange mirage!

Image Credit: RAYANDBEE (

Anita Lee
Anita Lee


Office Manager

Powells Cottage Holidays - Cottage holidays est. 1965



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