Big Island, Hawaii, Travel

The Mysterious Green Flash

We sat on our lanai during our first night in Kona and I admired the beautiful coastline while listening to the hypnotizing rhythm of the ocean. Enjoying some liquid aloha, an ice cold Kona Longboard from the Kona Brewing Company, we watched as the sun danced across the cloudless western sky. It was our first visit to the Big Island and we had one of the best lanais on the western coast to watch the sunset.

As the sun began to hug the horizon I turned to my husband and said, “I wonder if we will see the Green Flash tonight?”

His quizzical sideways glance my direction made me realize that he had never heard of the elusive phenomenon known as the Green Flash.

Have you?

While it sounds like a superhero; it’s not. And people say that it’s a myth; also not true. The Green Flash is a natural occurring phenomenon with a scientific explanation for people like me who want to know how everything works:

The day has to be clear with no clouds on the horizon as the sun begins to set. As the last part of the disk slips below the horizon a bright green flash is sometimes seen. The scientific explanation (according to Maui Revealed) states that when the sun’s rays pass through the thickest part of the atmosphere the light is bent and split into different components (much like a prism refracting light into the colors of the rainbow). The light that is the most bent is green, which is why we see the rare green flash.

If there are any clouds on the horizon, you won’t see the green flash. It’s also important to note that you should avoid looking directly at the sun until the very last moment before the sun dips below the horizon–we wouldn’t want you to burn your retinas.

A time lapse of a sunset with the Green Flash
A time lapse of a sunset with the Green Flash

Photo Credit

I had read about the Green Flash, but I never thought that I would actually see it. Now that I think about it, it’s totally bucket list worthy because of how elusive it can be. That night I saw my first Green Flash and it will go down as one of the most memorable sunsets I’ve yet to witness. Over the next ten nights, my husband and I tried to spot the Green Flash once again, and the phenomenon eluded us. I guess we will have to keep searching…


Green Flash1

Photo Credit

Have you see the Green Flash?

19 thoughts on “The Mysterious Green Flash”

  1. Have I seen the Green Flash? YES, many, many, many times.
    Having spent my life on Oahu makes it easy… sitting on the beach with your plate lunch dinner and a cold one (sshh), plus your loved one right next to you… AHHH! Heaven.
    Mahalo, thank you Krystle for sharing, and making me really miss home, :sigh:
    A hui hou, until we meet,

    1. Auntie,
      That sounds like heaven! 🙂 That’s all you need right? A cold one, a delicious plate lunch, and your loved ones. 🙂 perfection! You are so lucky to have spent your life on the islands. I need to move myself closer to the ocean one of these years.
      A hui hou

  2. I think I had the same expression on my face like your husband 🙂 I wish I knew about it, sounds beautiful 🙂

  3. I’ve tried seeing it in Ko’Olina, on Oahu but never did. Now that I know what the conditions of the sky need to be in order to see it, I can hopefully get lucky one day. 😀

Leave your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s