The green flash is a veritable Holy Grail to visitors on these shores much like the elusive perfect Mai Tai or a complete double rainbow. A green flash is actually a real phenomenon that occurs shortly after sunset or before sunrise. The magic happens when part of the sun suddenly changes color (at sunset, from red or orange to green or blue). Usually, this excitement happens only for a second or two. Green flashes may be observed from any altitude, even from an aircraft! The most common point of perspective is from an unobstructed horizon, such as over the ocean, but the green flash may also be viewed over cloud tops and mountains.
Here’s some advice on how to see the green flash yourself:
- Rule #1: Your horizon must be formed by some obstacle lower than your eye, such as the sea horizon
- Rule #2: You will need to be where the air is reasonably clear
- Rule #3: Most green flashes are pretty quick and small, it helps a lot to use binoculars or a camera viewfinder
- Rule #4: Don’t look at the Sun until it’s nearly down
- Rule #5: Our research in the field indicates that the presence of a cocktail with an umbrella may assist in seeing the green flash, yet further research in this area is on-going
So, pack up a picnic and some good company and head to the west side of your favorite island and wait for the fleeting flash!