It happened during the sunny part of our weekend just off Rockaway Beach, along the Oregon Coast.
I’m talking about the elusive and tough to see let alone photograph, ”Green Flash”.
But Don Best got it.
Can you see the green at the top of this image, appearing on both sides and possibly in a third spot on the very top? All this, just moments before the sun slips from view for another day.
What Is The Green Flash And What Causes The Green Flash
For starters, there is this: the entire rainbow worth of colors is coming at us all day long while the sun is up. So why is the sky blue instead of rainbow colored? Earth’s atmosphere helps pick ‘winners and losers’ and blue wins. It’s the color the atmosphere scatters all over and we see it as a solid blue.
The ‘winning’ colors change at the start and end of the day, of course. Reds, pinks and oranges typically dominate here. At these times of day, the sunlight is passing through extra atmosphere to get to us because it is so low on the horizon. And that allows the atmosphere to filter out most other colors.
So what is the green flash and what causes it and when might you see the green flash? Don’s photo here answers part of that question. The most likely time is moments before actual sunset. Moments before the sun slips over the horizon and vanishes for the night ahead.
Most often you see it at the moment when the sun becomes ‘notched’ (the top of this picture shows this–like someone is pinching the very top of the sun). This is the moment when what is in the atmosphere is actually helping block out part of the top of the sun–and heavily filtering everything else. Under calm and clear conditions (like the first half of this weekend) the atmosphere can, for a brief moment or moments, allow the green to win out. The green color that the sun is sending all day in its rainbow of light. And that is the explanation of the green flash.
There is one more catch to seeing this: experts have determined that for the filtering to produce this, you need many miles of clearing to your west at sunset. So most pictures you’ll find of the green flash, like this one from Don, are views across an ocean.
In fact, KOIN Local 6 Anchor Jeff Gianola just told me there is a bar and Restaurant near San Diego, in Pacific Beach, called The Green Flash.
Now that’s a twist in this blog post I did not expect…