Red Devil Horns Rising: Solar Eclipse at Sunrise on December 26, 2019 Gave Spectacular Illusion Over Persian Gulf from Qatar

Photographer Elias Chasiotis captured three spectacular optical events in one image on December 26, 2019. The optical events were: 1) a sunrise, 2) a solar eclipse, and 3) a Fata Morgana or mirage on the horizon.

Elias Chasiotis was in Al Wakrah, Qatar, and was aware that he had the opportunity to capture the image of a solar eclipse combined with a Fata Morgana on December 26, 2019.


A Fata Morgana occurs when rays of light are bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures in a steep thermal inversion. The thermal inversion or temperature inversion involves cold temperatures near the earth’s surface and warmer temperatures above, which is the opposite of normal conditions when warmer air is usually close to the surface with cooler air above. A Fata Morgana can also occur over Lake Michigan when the cold waters of Lake Michigan can be considerably colder than the air above. On May 5, 2019 a Fata Morgana produced an image of the Chicago skyline over 50 miles across Lake Michigan from Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan. The Fata Morgana image produced was a raised and magnified view of the Chicago skyline.

Fata Morgana is named after the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay because it was once believed or imagined that the mirages were fairy castle created by her witchcraft to lure sailors to their deaths.

The Fata Morgana combined Solar Eclipse Sunrise that Chasiotis captured gave the illusion of red devil horns rising above the horizon of the Persian Gulf.

The December 26, 2019 final eclipse of the year was the third solar eclipse of 2019. The central track of the annular eclipse crossed the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, southern India, Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines and Guam. A partial eclipse was visible from a much larger region covering much of Asia, northeast Africa, Oceana and western Australia.

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Al Wakrah is the capital city of the Al Wakrah Municipality in Qatar. Al Wakrah’s eastern edge is on the shoreline of the Persian Gulf. Qatar’s capital Doha is north of Al Wakrah. Due east across the Persian Gulf is Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.