Many theories center around “Project Blue Beam,” a suspected plot by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish a new world order by either simulating an alien invasion of Earth or a projecting a second coming of Christ. Others say China was trying to gauge the public’s reaction to its own “top secret holographic technology.”
But what was it, really?
Meteorologists say the floating city was likely a Fata Morgana: A type of optical illusion that distorts distant objects, caused by the warming of the atmosphere above land or oceans. Atmospheric scientist Kenneth Bowman of Texas A&M University explained the phenomenon in detail to the Christian Science Monitor.
A vertical gradient of temperatures from cool land to hot air can bend light at an angle, which tricks viewers into seeing objects where they don’t belong. In this case, distant skyscrapers appeared to be hovering in the sky, when in fact they were sitting calmly on the far horizon.
Fata Morganas, named after the enchantress from the tales of King Arthur, are also believed to be behind the legend of the Flying Dutchman ghost ship.
Still, that explanation hasn’t dampened conspiracy fever. One proponent of the NASA “blue beam” theory has already garnered over 4 million views on YouTube.