TechThe airplane "stopped" in the air. You can watch this recording endlessly

The airplane "stopped" in the air. You can watch this recording endlessly

Airplane - illustrative photo.
Airplane - illustrative photo.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
5:42 PM EDT, October 20, 2023

A video that has piqued the interest of many internet users has appeared on the ABC News profile on Facebook. It's hard not to be surprised, as the video shows an airplane that looks like it's hovering in the air. How is this possible?

The footage was recorded from an airplane flying over San Francisco. One of the passengers noticed another plane, flying parallel, which seemed to be hovering in mid-air. Immediately, comments started appearing online suggesting a "glitch in the matrix".

However, one should not read too much into the recording, as the "airborne" plane in the recording can be explained by one phenomenon. It's parallax.

The airplane stopped in mid-air. The film is causing a sensation online

The parallax effect, or in other words, the incongruity effect, is essentially an optical illusion. Passengers who were near the "suspended" airplane in the air were fortunate, as this is an extremely rare occurrence.

What exactly is parallax? Generally speaking, it's the phenomenon of observing discrepancies in different images of the same object observed from different directions. However, the textbook definition can be simplified and explained by the example of observations over San Francisco.

Passengers can observe parallax when they move at a speed close to the second observed object, which in this case is the second airplane. It is also necessary to head in the same direction. If we add the absence of visible reference points, which would negate the effect of parallax, the movement of the second machine is almost invisible, as a result of which one might get the impression that the observed object has come to a standstill.

In practice, of course, a plane stopping mid-air is impossible, and the recorded phenomenon can be fully explained by parallax. This is not the first such incident near San Francisco. In this particular location, due to the two parallel runways at the airport, one can sometimes observe the phenomenon of an air discrepancy effect.

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