Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 May 10
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Green Flash and Super Moon
Image Credit & Copyright: Laurent Laveder ( / TWAN)

Explanation: It was really not about superheroes as on May 6 the much touted Super Moon, the largest Full Moon of 2012, rose over this otherwise peaceful harbor. And no supervillains were present either as boats gently rocked at their moorings near the checkerboard La Perdrix lighthouse on the coast of Brittany, France. But the rise of the Super Moon was preceded by a Green Flash, captured in the first frame of this timelapse video recorded that night. The cropped image of the frame, a two second long exposure, shows the strongly colored flash left of the lighted buoy near picture center. While the Super Moon was enjoyed at locations all around the world, the circumstances that produced the Green Flash were more restrictive. Green flashes for both Sun and Moon are caused by atmospheric refraction enhanced by long, low, sight lines and strong atmospheric temperature gradients often favored by a sea horizon.

Tomorrow's picture: revenge of the Sun

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.