News Detail

Milwaukee lights visible from Lake Michigan beach in Muskegon

By Brandon Champion

MUSKEGON, MI - A Lake Michigan beach could have used signage reading, "Objects here are closer than they appear," late last week.

Because just after 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, Milwaukee appeared to be just a short swim away from the Lake Michigan shoreline in Muskegon, even though its more than 70 miles away.

Why? Because of something called a fata morgana, which the American Meteorological Society describes in depth.

"A mirage, but the specific physical circumstances under which fata morgana should be applied to a particular sighting are ill-defined."

"The best that can be said is that the mirage interacts with features in the landscape to present a scene of sufficient ambiguity that viewers often arrive at quite fanciful interpretations.

"Cases reported include those of the apparent sighting of cities, mountains, forests, or islands (sometimes metamorphosing one into the other) in places where it was known that no such things existed."

This photo was taken by Cameron Mosier with his cell phone at the south end of Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon.

"The for the record reaction was 'wow,' I can't believe how detailed it is," he said. "It didn't take any time for me to realize what it was because I've spent my childhood growing up in the neighborhood and have heard stories of it being visible."

Mosier said he saw a similar phenomenon the day before, only this time with dunes near Grand Haven.

"That was more of a shock for me," he said. "Having seen the lakeshore one way for 25 years and then seeing it look like the shores of sleeping bear dunes one day."

Mosier's photo has been shared nearly 170 times.

The full story with photos can be read at:

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