Check out this epic new optical illusion! California’s Yosemite Fire Creates Remarkable Mirage of Fire-Like Waterfall

We’ve often played with the concept of mind-blowing illusions in images and drawings, but have you ever experienced a genuine optical illusion in real life? If not, today is your chance!

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How do people react to the optical illusion of real life in California?

In February, tourists and nature enthusiasts gather in California’s Yosemite National Park to witness a stunning optical illusion that appears only once a year and lasts a few weeks during that month.

Optical illusion in the Yosemite fire in California unpack

The place has become quite a famous tourist destination as Instagram influencers and other aesthetic hunters travel to the destination to get the perfect picture for their social media followers and experience the glow of Yosemite Firefall.

Why is it an optical illusion?

In 1872, the owners of the Glacier Point Hotel, which overlooked Yosemite Valley, used to throw bonfires into a natural waterfall. Their goal was to create the illusion of molten lava cascading down a cliff.

Optical illusion in the Yosemite fire in California instagram

What they didn’t know, however, was that if they had waited for perfect weather conditions, specifically the late February sunlight just before sunset, the Yosemite Firefall would naturally appear as if it were bursting into golden flames instead of water. This enchanting sight was quite different from the artificial waterfall they had created to attract visitors.

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An official Yosemite Firefall event is held every February, inviting visitors to witness a completely natural optical illusion that requires no human intervention.

What is the truth behind the phenomenon?

Optical illusion in the Yosemite fire in California instagram

When the sun sets at a specific angle, its rays precisely touch Horsetail Falls in the park. This unique angle illuminates the falls, producing a stunning illusion that resembles flowing lava or cascading fire. The appearance of this illusion depends on several factors, such as weather conditions and water levels in the falls.

The science behind the phenomenon is quite simple, but the illusion is absolutely magical. The sunset backlight gives the impression that the slender waterfall flows like molten lava along the east side of El Capitan. The intense glow is so striking that numerous people have found photographs and wondered if the Yosemite Firefall is a real fire. Fortunately it is not, but the impact is truly surprising.

However, it is not an everyday pleasure for the eyes. Mother Nature makes no guarantees when it comes to putting on a Firefall show. It may be a clear day with the waterfall tumbling down the mountainside, but if the clouds move just before sunset, the Firefall will not occur. Since the Firefall usually occurs in the moments before sunset, a clear sky is essential for sunlight to penetrate the valley and illuminate the Cola de Caballo Waterfall.

Tell us what you think about the real-life optical illusion in the comments below.

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