why are cameras fooled by superior mirages?



I was reading this [newspaper article about a hovering ship](https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/mar/05/ship-hovering-above-sea-cornwall-optical-illusion?)

While I understand how the brain is fooled, why is a camera?

In: Earth Science

Light hits a camera sensor the same way that light hits an eyeball. Neither your brain nor the camera are “fooled”; they’re both showing you a picture based on the light that hits them. If the light being detected by both of them is bent the same way, then they’ll both end up with the same distorted image.

we are not fooled by anything here*
surface of the water, from this particular point of view, starts to (at that particular point), as far as we’re concerned, ideally reflect the sky therefore it seems like sky starts a bit earlier (lower) than it does

*that is there is no brain misfiring – the image you see is exactly what it supposed to be, so whatever optical recorder you use you’ll get the same exact result

Mirages don’t happen in your brain, they happen out in the air. The light is bent which distorts the image from what it would otherwise be and that’s what both your eyes and the camera see.

It isn’t like the kinds of optical illusions where a static image appears to be moving because our brain misinterprets the information or where we flipp between one thing or another. It’s more akin to looking through a distorted lens. The lens distorts things for a camera exactly the same way it does for our eyes.

Nobody is getting fooled: it’s just that light isn’t taking a straight path from the ship to your brain. If you ever seen those fun-house mirrors that make you look wildly out of proportion that’s a very similar idea. Our brain isn’t “fooled” to think that the funhouse mirror is making our proportions wrong, it’s that the mirror really is distorting the image we see. Same here: our brain isn’t “misinterpreting” anything, it’s that the atmosphere is distorting the light coming from the ship making it appear like it’s in the wrong spot.