Green Flash at Sunrise at Cape Sounion, Greece

February 05, 2010

Sounion green flash

Photographer: Elias Chasiotis
Summary Author: Elias Chasiotis; Jim Foster

The photo above showing a green flash detaching from the solar disk was captured at sunrise near the ancient Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece. At sunrise or sunset, a greenish colored flash or ray may appear as the upper rim of the solar disk breaks the horizon. I was on a hill when I snapped this picture, more than a mile away from the temple. This is a mock mirage type of flash, which results from a temperature inversion at the surface – in this case relatively cold air above warmer water.
To best see green flashes, it’s recommended that you look at sunset rather than sunrise. At sunset, unlike at sunrise, you can see the Sun going down and so you don’t have to guess just where the Sun contacts  the horizon. You’ll have better success if you use binoculars, a small telescope or a camera with a telescopic lens. It’s more difficult to observe this phenomenon with the unaided eye since the human eye can detect the flash but not really resolve it. Also, look during summer when the Sun sets less abruptly. Photo taken on December 26, 2009 at 7:46 a.m. EET. Alway use caution when looking toward the Sun!
Photo details: Canon EF 70-200 camera; F2.8 lens; 2x converter; exposure of 1/160.

Cape Sounion coordinates: 37.650058, 24.024466

Earth Observatory image – Greece