The Art of Nature: Green Flash in Rarotonga

From time to time, we will features images of natural art, captured in photography… because we can.


“Green flashes and green rays are optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset or before sunrise, when a green spot is visible, usually for no more than a second or two, above the sun, or it may resemble a green ray shooting up from the sunset point. Green flashes are a group of phenomena stemming from different causes, and some are more common than others.[1] Green flashes may be observed from any altitude (even from an aircraft). They usually are seen at an unobstructed horizon, such as over the ocean, but are possible over cloud tops and mountain tops as well.

“Green flashes are enhanced by mirage, which increase the density gradient in the atmosphere and therefore, increase refraction. A green flash is more likely to be seen in clear air, when more of the light from the setting sun reaches the observer without being scattered. One might expect to see a blue flash, but the blue is preferentially scattered out of the line of sight, and remaining light ends up looking green.” – Wikipedia

Here’s one, caught in Santa Cruz, California:

Green Flash - Santa Cruz, California

Well… we got one too, after more than thirty years of looking.

Earlier this month, in the Arorangi District of the Island of Rarotonga, in The Cook Islands, we caught a Green Flash, pure and beautiful.

The sunset that preceded it wasn’t too bad either. NONE of these shots have been “enhanced” in Photoshop or elsewhere, so we’re sorry for the sloping horizon…

Green Flash on the way...

And, here’s what we saw, a second before our star dipped below the horizon:

Green Flash - 07072012 Arorangi, Rarotonga, The Cook Islands

We could hardly believe our eyes, so when we got home, we blew it up to see it better…

Green Flash - 07072012 Arorangi, Rarotonga, The Cook Islands

Then more…

Green Flash - 07072012 Arorangi, Rarotonga, The Cook Islands

When we realized that we’d actually gotten a Blue/Green Flash, as the Wikipedia description said was possible.


Just another day at the beach… in The Cook Islands.

Victor Bond