Blue Flash Above Fife, Scotland

February 23, 2006


Provided and copyright by: Mike Hobden
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Mike Hobden

Normally dawn or sunset photos of a green flash are taken over the sea. Much less frequently are "flashes" captured over land surfaces. This blue colored flash was observed over a range of distant hills, in exceptionally clear air, on January 4, 2006, from near East Lomond Hill in Fife, Scotland. In very clean air when the Sun is near the horizon, shorter wavelengths (blue and violet) of sunlight may be present, and it's possible to see a flash of blue light in the waning seconds before sunset. This photo was taken above a very strong thermal inversion that produced dense fog in valleys and low lying areas (the sea is on the other side of the hills). Because the Sun isn't visible, it's difficult to say if the flash was hugging the Sun or lifted above it (a mock flash) -- inversions typically produce mock flashes.

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