High & Low Green Flashes
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Highlights
Jonathan Shock pictured this sunset green flash from high up on Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa. It's a mock-mirage type sunset flash that cameras see rather than the classical Jules Verne flashes seen by eye.

Sunset rays refracted by differing density layers of a temperature inversion made the mirage and flash.

The appearance of mock-mirage sunsets/rises depends on whether you are below or in the inversion or at heights above it. Jonathan's miraged sun is typical of those seen from high up (but see the caveat below!). It is strongly flattened . The many miraged sun images each squash into thin strips. Explore the height differences below....

Image ©Jonathan Shock, shown with permission

Right: A mock-mirage sunset and green flash at near sea level. Seen on the Southern California coast by Jim Grant.

The mirage has far less vertical compression. Jim was likely within the inversion.


Left: Sunset series from the ESO La Silla Observatory, high (2400m) in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Image by Jesús Maíz Apellániz.

Below: There is almost no vertical distortion in the early stages of this low-altitude sunset mock-mirage. Imaged at Jakobstad, Finland by Jonas Förste

A mock-mirage sunrise and green flash seen from a height. This time from Monte Novegno (1691m), Vicenza, Italy by Pierluca Grotto.

Each miraged sun slice is well flattened.

Right: Another Californian sea-level sunset mirage with intermittent green flashes. Videoed by Michael Bolte.

There is little compression of the sun slices.

But not all low-level mock-mirages lack compression. When the inversion is strong and ducting occurs then we see a severely squashed sunset. In extremis we have the multiple stacked lines of a Novaya Zemlya sunrise/sunset.