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Andrew Alden

Geological Visuals: The Green Flash and Others

By January 29, 2012

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My last post, and the commenters to it, mentioned various sounds distinctive to geology. After a while the subject turned to sights, beginning with the legendary green flash, a rare occurrence as the sun sets or rises in very clear weather. It's the 100th item in Geotripper's geological bucket list.

I have seen the green flash, three times so far. The first time was from a ship in the Gulf of Alaska as the sun rose behind the St. Elias Range. That was actually a blue flash. The second time was in 2010 from a high mountain in California, as the sun rose over Nevada. The third time was a few months ago as the sun set over the Pacific, which is the typical way a green flash appears. That one I tried to photograph, but it came and went between shots, less than two seconds. You have to be vigilant.

Extra points if you've seen Eric Rohmer's gentle character study Le Rayon Vert, a lovely film based on a Jules Verne novel that revolves around the green flash.

Other sights to see in the list include a solar eclipse, a meteor storm, the aurora and a lunar eclipse. I might add catching sight of a sprite with the naked eye; the experts say it can be done. And of course I have to add earthquake lights.


January 30, 2012 at 9:48 am
(1) nancy marinone says:

never heard of that, i wonder if i could see that from connecticut

January 31, 2012 at 1:14 am
(2) Thomas says:

Green Flash – I actually have succeeded to photograph it, in La Réunion island, last November; I’ll try to put it online soon…


February 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm
(3) The Amish Texter says:

I read an article in Reader’s Digest many years ago about the Green Flash. The author had gone to the beach every monring for an entire summer before seeing one. You are lucky to have seen three.

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