The Green Flash: Fact or Fiction

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June 19, 2015

For years, I’ve heard about the “Green Flash” that apparently can be seen extremely briefly as the sun sets behind a water view horizon. One of the most viewed locations was said to be Mallory Square in Key West, Florida.  Many RVers have sought the legendary phenomena in their travels.

So recently I declared the whole “Green Flash” thing nothing but a made up rumor. In as much as it supposedly appears around cocktail hour might be an explanation of the reported sightings.

Recently, while on a cruise from Europe, I met a man who  claimed to actually have seen it.  But his story was different. He had seen it at least four times, one of which he actually photographed with a high speed rapid shutter. He did not, however, have the photos with him.  But, what was really interesting is that all these sightings occurred as the sun ROSE!  I’ve never ever heard of this.  All people and articles only discuss sunset, none of sunrise.

Well, with that information, I again attempted to see if this mysterious phenomenon, “the Green Flash,” is fact or fiction.

It was Saturday morning, about 10 days after learning this information from the stranger that I met on the ship and never saw again.

I was up and about at 5:30 am.  Sunrise, at our current position, would be 6:37 am.

I got my camera and set it for rapid continuous shooting.  I had to be careful not to mess with aiming the camera and missing the show.  I set the camera up and aimed it by hand, thinking that if it does flash green, I will pull and hold the trigger while physically watching it directly.

Suddenly—GREEN bright light!  I pulled the trigger, but before the first click could be heard, the light quickly blended to more red or looking more a normal color.  Unbelievable—had seen the Green Flash!  Had I really seen it? Yes, it was definitely the green flash!

I went back into the stateroom and checked the camera’s photo images.  The photos started too late, just as I thought.

So the Green Flash exists!  But it hides in the early hours when most still sleep.

It is possible that this phenomenon may be visible on occasion at sunset, but I have to imagine that it must be very rare.  After all, I have attempted to catch the sunset’s mysterious view many times, perhaps 100 or more.  All of these with no success.  Yet, after hearing some stranger that claimed to have seen it at least 4 times, all at sunrise!  There it is, live and in color!

So, it is true! The Green Flash does indeed exist!

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  1. Raul & Estrellita Izquierdo Sr

    Well, I am glad that you did get to see it. Before becoming RVers in 1991,we spent 10 years cruising the seas. We must have seen a thousand sunsets. We did get to see the green flash many times. There seem to be some atmospheric conditions, though I don’t know what. I do know that there must be no clouds on the horizon at the sun’s point of disappearance, and some mist in the air seems to help. It really is quite a flash! (p.s. please protect your eyes, don’t look until the sun is almost set!) Yes Virginia there really is a green flas!.

  2. Raul & Estrellita Izquierdo Sr

    Well I very happy you did get to see it. Before becoming RVers in 1991, we cruised the ocean for 10 years. We watched a thousand sunsets at least. We did get to see the green flash maybe 4 to 5 times, always at sunset. Atmospheric conditions had to be just right. (I don’t know what the requirements are! ) But I do remember that there had to be no clouds at the horizon at the point of disappearance, and maybe a certain amount of mist in the air. The sun would just disappear when there would be a beautiful vivid green flash. Yes, it does exist, Virginia!

  3. Ann

    I have seen the sunset Green Flash at Clearwater Beach, FL. Hey, flash is the key word. It comes and goes in a flash!