Thursday, April 8, 2021

Green Flash at Sunset #AtoZChallenge2021

Observing a green flash when the Sun sinks below the horizon is a delightful experience. I had read about the elusive phenomena shortly after moving to Hawaii. When I decided to write a scene with my characters experiencing the memorable sight, naturally I turned to researching the cause of such flashes.


Hazy Sun drifting toward the Waikiki horizon

Green flashes are observed from any altitude but not often photographed. They are usually best seen from an unobstructed horizon, either over the ocean or above cloud or mountain tops. With unobstructed views of the horizon, airline pilots often observe the flash when flying westward as the setting of the sun is slowed.

Atmosphere causes light from the Sun to separate into different frequencies, particularly at sunrise and sunset when the light travels through more of the Earth’s atmosphere. Orange and yellow are filtered out of the spectrum of colors while the green is enhanced.


Black feathery fronds on palm trees standing sentinel at sunset

In all these years, I have only witnessed such a phenomenon once. Near sunset, I was poised near the beach at Waikiki as the shimmering orb drifted below the fronds of scattered palm trees. 

When the air is warm and the breeze is cool, worries float away with the wind. On a clear day, you can see forever. And this was one of those days. The Sun dipped ever lower until it touched the horizon of the Pacific Ocean and sunk lower, causing a flash of green that drew gasps of pleasure from the lingering crowd.


Cruise ship edging toward the setting Sun.
My camera picked up a green glow around the Sun,
but not a coveted green flash at sunset.

Mesmerized, I watched the glowing green haze. The flash may have lasted for mere seconds. But time slowed as the image emblazoned itself on my eyes, creating the illusion of an extended event, and searing the experience into my memory for a lifetime.



  1. Truly fascinating! Never heard of it and never experienced anything like it. Now that I know it exists will look for it.

    My "G" Jethro Tull song is here:

    1. Although notoriously elusive, Jade, the sight is indeed worth looking for.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Olga. All taken at Waikiki Beach but on different days. Always colorful.

  3. What a wonderful sight to behold. I'm not surprised you were mesmerized.

    1. I'm not much of a photographer, Keith, but it's hard to take a bad picture on the beach.

  4. What an amazing experience to witness a moment like this. I have never even heard of a green flash at sunset. There are so many beautiful things in our world. We are so lucky.Weekends In Maine

    1. Yes, lucky to have our memories preserved in picture form. Sometimes, only later can we appreciate a scene.

  5. I experienced the green flash twice. So fugitive and quick, but so amazing!
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

  6. How interesting! I've never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing it.

    Here from A to Z. Visit me at where our theme is Down syndrome in the media.


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