The Mythical Green Flash


What is it?

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The green flash is a rare phenomenon that happens only at sunset in the tropics. When atmospheric conditions are just right, or you’ve had a few too many ‘umbrella’ drinks (Click here for beverage recipes), a flash of green light appears at the exact instant the last of the sun disappears below the horizon. There is a difference between the green flash and the green glow. A green glow often accompanies the very last instant of sunlight before the sun disappears. It usually lasts a second or two. The true green flash resembles the flash of a camera strobe light - a brief, intense burst of green light. We have seen the green glow many times but experienced the true green flash only twice.

The best location to watch sunsets is from a seawall in Kailua- Kona or along the Kohala Coast - either on a beach or along the coastline between Kawaihae Harbor and Lapakahi (map).  The horizon must be reasonably cloudless to see the green flash. 

Use this calculator to determine the time of sunset during your vacation, then stake out a location with an unblockable view of the setting sun and enjoy

The green flash doesn’t happen every night. Sometimes clouds on the horizon or a passing boat get in the way. If that happens, try again tomorrow.

Caution. Never look directly at the sun, even the setting sun. Look away from the sun and wait until the top of the sun’s disk is about to sink into the Pacific before looking for the green flash.