At first glance this picture appears to show a ship flying through the air, as some kind of futuristic watercraft and aircraft hybrid.

In fact, however, the ship is simply sitting on the sea where it should be, but the colour of the water is a perfect match for the sky above it, while the choppier water in the foreground is darker and more textured.

The image was captured by Martin Stroud on Monday, as he was walking through the village.

His post on the village Facebook page proved popular, with people describing it as "an amazing shot" – although Martin joked that he hoped the ship would leave soon as it was "spoiling the night time views of the stars."

A ship appears to be flying above the sea off Coverack in Cornwall Picture: Martin Stroud

A ship appears to be flying above the sea off Coverack in Cornwall Picture: Martin Stroud

Such phenomenon has been seen before in Cornwall, with different explanations given.

In 2017 Rosie Patterson in Porthleven captured what appeared to be a 'flying' container off the coast of the port.

At the time it was explained as a rare state of conditions, in which the sea in the foreground of the picture was choppy, with waves, while further back out to sea where the ship was anchored the water was calm and mirror-flat.

This created the illusion of the ship apparently sitting in the sky, with the horizon line placed along top of the choppy water.

However, when a similar image was captured by David Morris at Gillan Cove back in March last year, a different explanation was given.

At that time BBC meteorologist David Braine described as a "superior mirage", which were common in the Arctic but happened only "very rarely" in the UK.

A superior mirage is one in which the image appears to be located above the real object, caused when the air below the line of sight is colder, and therefore denser, than the air above it – the opposite of what normally happens during the daytime. It results in the light rays bending downwards as they pass through the so-called 'temperature inversion'.