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No. 15: Spring 1981

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The Novaya Zemlya Effect

Rarely, as the long polar night draws to a close, the sun will suddenly burst above the horizon weeks ahead of schedule. This is the Novaya Zemiya Effect, and it is basically a polar mirage. Even when the sun is still 5 below the horizon, its light can become trapped between thermoclines and be transmitted over the usual horizon. The atmospheric ducts act much like flat light pipes. In the Novalya Zemlya Effect the sun's image is grossly distorted, quite different from the high quality mirages sometimes seen over hundreds of miles in the polar latitudes.

(Anonymous; "New Light on Novaya Zemlya Polar Mirage," Physics Today, 34: 21, January 1981.)

Reference. Related atmospheric phenomena are collected in Section GEM in our Catalog: Rare Halos. More information on this book here.

Triple Novaya Zemlya Effect Triple Novaya Zemlya Effect.
Three distorted images of a sun still well below the horizon.

From Science Frontiers #15, Spring 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987