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Green Flash Sunset: Amazing Photographs

Updated on June 19, 2012

Double Green Flash

Image by: ESO/G. Lombardi
Image by: ESO/G. Lombardi
Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory

How does a green flash sunset occur?

The green flash is a rare phenomenon to experience because in order to see it you must have an unobstructed view of the setting sun and a stable atmosphere. The double green flash shown above is exceptionally rare, even in prime conditions.

A green flash is observed above the yellow, orange, and red colors of the setting sun because the blue and green light rays from the sun have a shorter wavelength, thus appearing slightly above in the sky from our perspective. This "mirage" effect distorts the shape of the sun producing the stunning green flash.

Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory
The Stages of Green Flash: Brocken Inaglory
The Stages of Green Flash: Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory

Development of a green flash

The above two images show a series of photographs documenting the beginning and ending stages of a green flash sunset. As you can see, the very top of the setting sun begins to distort and rise above the rest, eventually turning green. In the previous image, the green flash produced by the sun appears a bit different showing that there can be many variations on the shapes and colors you see depending on your perspective in regards to the sun.

Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory
Brocken Inaglory

Lunar Green Flash

Image by ESO/G.Hüdepohl
Image by ESO/G.Hüdepohl

The lunar green flash (above) is far rarer to witness than a regular green flash. This green flash occurs in the same way as a solar green flash where the green light from the moon appears higher in the sky due to its shorter wavelength.


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