The Green Flash

My second attempt at photographing the elusive “green flash” worked, after barely missing one over the Gulf from Florida a couple years before.  This type is known as an inferior-mirage flash, where the sun is below the horizon, but a mirage under a thermal inversion acts as a thin, edge-on prismatic lens to separate the blue-green sunlight and bend a sliver of it over the horizon and back to the observer.  The true sunset had finished seconds before.  Because the sun’s apparent approach angle is steeper near the equator, these flashes don’t last as long in the tropics (no more than a second or two); therefore, despite a hair-trigger reaction, this flash was over by the time the echo of the shutter finished.  Although colloquially known as “green flash”, this one contained as much blue as green, indicating less filtering of blue wavelengths than is usual for such flashes.

Kailua-Kona HI (27 Dec 17) Looking WSW
19.5957, -155.973

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