Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Searching for the Green Flash...


No, not a super-hero. The green flash that sometimes occurs as the sun sinks below the horizon. It lasts for a few seconds and to be honest, I'm not sure I've ever seen it. I got to thinking about it because Andrew Alden over at About Geology mentioned it in a recent post.

I was doing my darndest to catch it last summer on what had been a kind of somber day. We had visited the site of the St. Francis Dam disaster earlier in the afternoon for the first time, and after a long drive, we arrived at our campsite at Leo Carrillo State Park along the Malibu coast (yes, there had been another lucky reservation cancellation).
The canyon where the campground was situated was already deep in the shadows, so we headed out to the beach to watch the sunset. The pelicans did a nice job of helping to frame the setting sun...
So here's the thing: just as the sun hit the horizon, my autofocus started dropping in and out of focus, so I just snapped shots hoping one of them might catch something of the flash. I think I caught it below...but what do you experts out there think??

6 comments:

Silver Fox said...

Just from looking at Atmospheric Optics, I think that probably is a green flash. If you darken up the picture, I'm wondering if it would show the color a little better?

Silver Fox said...

It doesn't look like the link went through, although I can see it in the popup window. May be related to the problems Blogger has been having since adding threaded comments to embedded comments.

Here's the link: http://www.atoptics.co.uk/atoptics/gfim0.htm

Gaelyn said...

Sorry, I don't see any green, then I'm no expert. But the sunset shots are excellent.

In a past life while sailing on Puget Sound I watched for the green flash at every opportunity with no luck.

andrew said...

It's getting there, but the green flash usually happens a bit later. The sky looks like it was too thick that day to let any green light through.

I know you'll keep trying.

The times I saw a morning green flash required real vigilance, but when they came it was electrifying.

Randy A. said...

My Mac has an app called "digital color meter". It does just what it says, and gives me RGB values for any spot on my screen.

When I used it on your picture, the sun itself was pure white (red, green and blue values are all 255). The pink sky around the sun had values of roughly R=235, G=175, B=155.

The "green flash" above the sun certainly isn't green. The values are R=247, G=248, B=205. perhaps the best description of the color would be "off white." (In RGB colors, equal values of red and green mean shades of yellow).

But hey, it's still a pretty picture! :-)

Politesse said...

It's a pretty picture, but having seen the phenomenon in question, I think it would be pretty hard to mistake for something else.