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Published January 10th 2012
Around the world, optical illusions fascinate us.
We love cities that mysteriously appear from the seas, oasis that don't actually exist, rocks that seemingly drag themselves through deserts, cars that roll uphill.
As a child, we lived in remote outback Queensland and would often see the Min Min lights.
Lights that seemed to sway back and forth in the distance reminiscent of a person walking with a lantern - however, no matter how close you got to them or how fast you travelled they seemed to aimlessly amble on the same distance away from you.
Also known as Paddy's Lanterns, Jack O Lanterns.
One evening we set off in the ute to see if we could catch the Min Min lights. Seeing them a short distance ahead, we floored the pedal and hit around 80km per hour for over 20 minutes through the bush. (Now this may not seem so fast to you, but with 6 kids standing up clinging on to the roof rack of the ute bouncing through paddocks, rabbit holes and tussock grass, it seemed mighty fast at the time)
Tantalisingly close, the Min Min lights swayed just about the same distance away from us the entire time.
So what is a Min Min light?
From Wikipedia: "Min Min Light is the name given to an unusual light formation that has been reported numerous times in eastern Australia. The lights have been reported from as far south as Brewarrina in western New South Wales, to as far north as Boulia in northern Queensland. The majority of sightings are reported to have occurred in Channel Country.
The light's existence as a phenomenon has been confirmed to be Fata Morgana, though there remains debate over their source. Various explanations have been put forward, ranging from optical illusions and piezoelectrics to luminescent animals."
I saw them many times, but never actually got close to them.
Have you experienced Min Min lights?
Where did you see them, what do you think they are?
As the full moon rises over mudflats of Roebuck Bay at very low tides, a wonderful natural optical illusion unfolds.
It appears that a staircase arises - reaching to the moon.
Between March and October for 3 nights in each month, this beautiful staircase appears.
Best viewed from the Golf club or the outdoor bar at the Mangrove Hotel and Town Beach.
Always ready to appreciate natures wonders, Staircase Markets now occur during most staircase dates at Town Beach, and will fill your belly with great foods and delight the shopping need with terrific crafts.
Click here for details and dates of the next Staircase to the Moon and events.
Have you discovered other optical illusions in Australia, share them with us here. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Absolutely superb. I love these types of phenomenon. I will see the Northern Lights one day. That is one act of nature that I am really looking forward to seeing. It would be amazing. I hadnt heard of the min min lights, hey seem wonderful.