Air Mirror

Floor 1 | Mirrors in Mind
Sit comfortably and check the stripy view at the end of the road. Now heat up the road. (A solid steel plate rapidly heats to 100°, warming the dark sand of the ‘road’ surface). As the air closest the ground heats up, the palm trees shimmer and the stripes begin to deform – with progressive warming they appear to bend and curve. This is a miniature, reversible and repeatable, version of the familiar mirage you see when driving on a bright summer day, when the air is very hot just above the tarmac and cooler above: the apparent wetness of the road is not a reflection of the sky in water, but refraction of sky light through the less-dense warmer air at the road surface.