In the movie Titanic it seems almost comical to watch a giant iceberg come out of nowhere and smash into the side of the doomed cruise ship but a new theory suggests that the hit may have been caused because of an optical illusion.
Reported in Smithsonian Magazine the theory points to a phenomenon called “super refraction.” That process occurs when the bending of lights cause mirages.
The theory states that during that tragic night in 1912 super refraction prevented the Titanic’s crew from seeing the iceberg in time while also preventing the nearby crewmen on the ship Californian from quickly realizing that the cruise ship was in danger.
The theory would mesh with reports from the Californian’s crew that they were “unsure of what they saw” when the Titanic fired distress rockets into the nighttime sky.
This isn’t the first time the super refraction theory has been proposed, researchers in 1992 floated the idea however it wasn’t until British historian Tim Maltin recently analyzed weather records, survivor accounts and ship logs that the theory gained any steam.
If you would like more information regarding the full process in graphical form Smithsonian Mag’s visual demonstration can be found HERE.
Mirages at sea would definitely add a new layer of mystery to Titanic’s sinking. Does the process of super refraction sound like a real possibility to you?