Mirage is formed when total internal reflection occurs in the atmosphere and objects are seen where they are not present actually

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Let us we are walking on a hot sunny day in summer on a tar road. The air very close to the road is very hot due to the heat dissipated/radiated by the ground. So its density becomes less. Its refractive index becomes less. The air at a height from the road is relatively cooler. Its optical density - refractive index is higher.

When light rays from top of the building, top of a tree are incident on the interface between the hot and cold air layers, the phenomenon of total internal reflection occurs. Those Light rays reflected are seen by our eyes. Thus we see the virtual images of the top of the building or tree inside the hot air layer. We feel that there is some water pond nearby.

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