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This question may look stupid but it's something that came to my mind months ago when I was on a plane. When one looks through the window on a plane, there are light and dark parts of the ocean (it's obvious that happens because of the ocean waves). What's interesting is that the pattern is static. I came to the conclusion that maybe the darkest parts were the nodes of the wave but I'm not really sure. There must be a physical explanation.

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The motion of the waves is not apparent for two reasons. First, the angular velocity with which they move across your field of view varies inversely as your height above them. Seen from a few miles up, that angular velocity is so slow as to be imperceptible. Second, even when you're not terribly high, in the middle of the ocean there is no point of reference. The waves are all propagating in the same direction, on average, and much more slowly than the plane flies. Without a stationary object with which to compare, it is nearly impossible to discern the motion. If you watch the waves breaking on the shore, you can see them move (even though they slow down there).

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