Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Strange Weather Cousins on the Oregon Coast: Green Flash and the Novaya Zemlya

Published 05/31/2018 at 6:35 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Strange Weather Cousins on the Oregon Coast: Green Flash and the Novaya Zemlya

(Oregon Coast) - Sunsets are always a much anticipated moment on the Oregon coast, but some rare conditions give an extra big show. Two phenomena are related: the much-coveted Green Flash at Sunset and its more elaborate cousin, the Novaya Zemlya effect. (Above: the Green Flash photographed by NOAA's Phil Manoug)

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that winter is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
Major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deals available; lodgings not listed anywhere else

The startling sight known as the "Green Flash at Sunset" is a little more apt to happen during summer's lovely weather and fall's "Second Summer" on the coast.

Under the right conditions, you may see a brief green blob directly above the sun, just before the last sliver dips below the horizon. Or the whole or the bulk of the sun turns green. A little more frequent is a slightly longer, green blob that lingers just above the sunset or around the outer edges, usually favoring one side or the other a bit. Often, it moves and shifts in size, taking a second to three or four seconds on average. Flash is a bit of a misnomer: it's longer than that.

It’s subtle, however.

This can mostly – and there’s a catch - happen on a day of no clouds. Yet it’s not completely limited to that, in spite of what the more conventional wisdom says about the phenomena.

Essentially, it’s the result of a variety of conditions that block out certain color bands for a time. There’s so much atmosphere between you and the horizon where the sun is disappearing that all color bands except the green get squeezed out.

This scientific oddity was for years a means of ridicule for people claiming to see it, but by the '70s it was actually documented on film.

The green flash is a cousin of an unusual ocean weather phenomenon called the Novaya Zemlya effect. Considered quite a rarity in some ways, it may actually be more common to the Oregon coast than many think.

This effect creates an illusion where it seems the sun is setting later than it really is – a kind of double-headed sunset or even a triple one.

In the simplest terms, it's a kind of polar image mirage of the sun right above itself.

Novaya Zemlay effect

According to the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California, the Novaya Zemlya effect is a thin slit of “sunlight traveling along the curvature of the Earth even after the Sun has set. The narrow slit of light travels in azimuth with the Sun below the horizon. This effect occurs primarily at higher latitudes where the angle of the setting Sun to the local horizon can be very shallow.”

This can happen with sunrises as well, giving the impression the sun is rising earlier than it should be.

Many times it is accompanied by the famed Green Flash at Sunset – also the result of refraction. There, the last rays of the sun suddenly turn green for a few seconds. Or, in typical Novaya Zemlya fashion, a small green blob pops up above the sun. Pictured at the top is a series of green flash shots taken by Oregon Coast Beach Connection in the past.

The Novaya Zemlya phenomenon is named after the series of Russian islands known as the Novaya Zemlya, where it was first documented in the 1500s. Eerily, the phenomenon can also slightly resemble a nuclear blast mushroom cloud, and this is an island chain used by the Russians for nuclear testing. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours. More green flash and novaya zemlya below:

Oregon Coast Lodging

MORE PHOTOS BELOW






More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....


Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Washington Coast Holidays Include Crab Pot Tree, Santa with Pirates, Music, Food
Holiday happs from Ilwaco up through Westport. Washington coast events
Famed Holiday Show Tradition Back on Oregon Coast, at Newport Performing Arts...
The Christmas Show! is finally back, Dec. 16 and 17. Newport events
Cyber Monday for Oregon Coast Too: Giving the Beach for Christmas
Give a night or two at the coast, or books, hoodies, T's. weather
Orcas Spotted Again on N. Oregon Coast - First Time This Pod Recorded Here
A pod of four were photographed on November 23. Marine sciences
Three Much-Loved Oregon Coast Landmarks Gone So Long They're Forgotten
Now a faint blip in the historical record books, but once extremely popular. Depoe Bay, Bandon, Newport
All Aboard! Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Goes All Christmasy
Rides take to the rails every Sunday and Saturday until December 18. Cannon Beach events, Garibaldi events, Rockaway Beach events
Different Way of Looking at Lincoln City: Extraordinary Oregon Coast Details
So much Lincoln City, so little time
Fiery Scottish / Irish Christmas Show Comes to South Oregon Coast's Coos Bay
A sizzling blend of Celtic cultures in music happens Dec 16. South coast events

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted