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A Green Flash from the Sun

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Jun 4, 2014 6:40 am via: NASA
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Many think it is just a myth. Others think it is true but its cause isn’t known. Adventurers pride themselves on having seen it. It’s a green flash from the Sun. The truth is the green flash does exist and its cause is well understood. Just as the setting Sun disappears completely from view, a last glimmer appears startlingly green.

The effect is typically visible only from locations with a low, distant horizon, and lasts just a few seconds. A green flash is also visible for a rising Sun, but takes better timing to spot. A dramatic green flash, as well as an even more rare red flash, was caught in the above photograph recently observed during a sunset visible from the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos in the Canary Islands, Spain. The Sun itself does not turn partly green or red — the effect is caused by layers of the Earth’s atmosphere acting like a prism.

Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López (El Cielo de Canarias)

Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López (El Cielo de Canarias)

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