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The beauty of nature

In these slower times, it can be hard to get out and experience what nature has to offer with everyone being stuck inside. Escape to nature in these magical optical illusion photos that you won’t believe are real.

Sundog

This optical illusion that appears to be three suns shining down on the earth is called a sundog. It happens when sunlight reflects through icy clouds that contain crystals.

Brocken spectre

This optical illusion makes it look like there is a tiny rainbow within a cloud. A Brocken spectre, or mountain spectre, occurs on mountain tops when the sun is low casting enlarged shadows on the tops of clouds. The optical illusion is that the shadow of the observer looks to be as far away as objects in the distance. The shadow is surrounded by coloured bands that are caused by a distraction on sunlight by water in the clouds.

Full moon and lonely tree

Have you ever noticed that when the moon is close to the horizon it looks ten times bigger than when it’s high in the sky? This phenomenon is known as the “moon illusion.” When the moon appears close to the ground it changes your depth perception and causes your brain to see a very large moon. If you hold your hand in a telescope shape and look at the moon without the horizon so close it will appear small in size again.

Atlas moth

The Atlas moth has two snake eyes on its wings to scare off predators. When they sense that something is coming to attack they open their wings and the predator backs off.

Web of water

Dew or rain caught on spider webs can create the illusion of water floating in mid-air.

Lenticular clouds

No, those strange looking things in the sky aren’t UFOs, they’re actually clouds. Lenticular clouds form when warm air moves over a mountain or mountain range and the air on the downwind side of the mountain remains cool.

Dracula orchid

At first glance, this unique flower looks like a face. The flower is known as the Dracula orchid and the “eyes” and “mouth” are just small petals in the centre of the flower.

Underwater waterfall

Underwater waterfalls do exist, but this spot along the shoreline of Mauritius isn’t one of them. You’re actually seeing sand being pushed off of an underwater shelf called the Mascarene Plateau.

Jacob’s Well

While this natural wonder is very deep, from certain angles it looks like it goes all the way to the dark centre of the earth. Jacob’s Well, located outside of Austin, Texas, is a great place to cool off in the hot summers, but can also be dangerous for those that dare to explore the cave below.

The Wave

This natural rock formation known as The Wave throws off your depth perception because of the natural lines on the rocks. It’s located in Arizona, in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.

Salt flats

When the salt flat in Bolivia called Salar de Uyuni is covered in a thin layer of water it makes for some great optical illusions. This truck looks like it’s floating on top of the water.

Horsetail Falls

No, this isn’t a waterfall of fire. Every year, around the second week of February, the sunset hits Horsetail Falls in Yosemite Park at just the right angle making it appear as though it’s on fire.

Mirage in the desert

A mirage in the desert might easily be mistaken for a body of water. Mirages occur when the ground is very hot and the air is cool. The hot air on the ground warms a layer of air just above the ground and when light moves from the cool air into the hot air just above the ground it’s bent creating a mirage.

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