Ships floating in the sky in Britain

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People across Britain have been left confused this week as several ships appeared to be floating in mid air due to a rare optical illusion. 

The unusual sight has been seen across the UK, with sightings in Cornwall, Devon and Aberdeenshire in just a matter of days.

Earlier this week in Paignton, Devon, a picturesque coastal snap depicted several liners which looked like they were hovering above the sea due to the phenomenon.

And on Friday in Banff, Aberdeenshire, health and safety worker Colin McCallum spotted another ship which looked to be flying and stopped to get a video of the unusual sight before investigating what caused the illusion.  

The phenomenon, known as Fata Morgana, creates a mirage when the sun heats up the atmosphere above the land or the sea, which creates a gradient of temperatures.

A layer of warm air sits on top of a layer of cold air, causing the light from the ship to bend as it passes through gaps in air currents.   

Speaking about the latest sighting in Cornwall, a spokesman for the Met Office said: 'The images appear to show evidence of a phenomenon called fata morgana. 

'A rare and complex form of mirage in which horizontal and vertical distortion, inversion and elevation of objects occur in changing patterns. 

'The phenomenon occurs over a water surface and is produced by the superposition of several layers of air of different refractive index.'  
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