Monday, February 18, 2008

The Green Flash! (not an obscure superhero)

Well, I finally got the pictures from our California trip uploaded to the computer, and I wanted to show you a couple of interesting ones. There is a rare optical phenomenon called the "green flash" which can only be seen at sunset under the right atmospheric conditions. I had the fortune to actually capture this on camera when I was photographing the sunset in Malibu.

Here's a zoomed in photo, in case you don't believe me:


I was excited to get this picture, because it's pretty hard to get. The green flash occurs for a fraction of a second. Even if you see it, you might wonder if you really saw it because it occurs so quickly. But here's what I think is an even more interesting photograph:


I had to zoom in really far, but in the water you can see what I think is a reflection of the green flash. This picture was taken from the Hearst Castle, which is at about 1600 ft elevation. The elevation would cause the sunset to be later than it would at sea level, due to the curvature of the earth. So I think the sun was setting behind the cloud in the photograph, causing a green flash phenomenon that was reflected by the water. My coworker pointed out that it seems unlikely since the reflection is slightly offset from the sun. However, there is a parallax with water reflections (see halfway down the wikipedia page). So that would explain the slightly different location of the sun.

This entire post probably bored the crap out of you unless you're a weather weenie, so here's a beautiful rainbow to make up for the nerdiness:


This picture was taken at Point Lobos, CA.

4 comments:

Alpha Monkey said...

That's really neat! I hadn't heard of the green flash phenomenon before. Are there more photos from your trip online?

L said...

Not yet. I'm lazy.

Vanessa said...

haha...and here, i wanted to see a picture of the castle :) great pictures, though!

ziola said...

Green flash! I learned about it in my atmospheric sciences class, lo those many years ago, but always figured it was an elaborate myth propagated by meteorologists. Glad to see it's real.

Unless it's all photoshop. ;)