The Omega Sunset
I have been a little behind and negligent posting recently. I will try to get back on a more regular schedule here.
First thing I want to share was taken in late September when I was in Florida. I got some nice pictures of sunset. Here is the first one.
As you can see, that bit of orange has risen up to meet the setting Sun. This phenomena is called an inferior mirage (those little spiky things are trees from Egmont Key. They are also distorted by Earth’s atmosphere). What you are seeing is a mirage of the Sun. The warm water bends the Sunlight as it comes toward you resulting in a second inverted image of the Sun beneath the setting Sun. As the Sun sets, the mirage moves upward and they meet. The resulting shape looks like the Greek letter omega and this phenomena is sometimes called an omega sunset. The physical process is the same as the one that gives the “wet road” illusion on a hot summer day. In this case the mirage is due to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Frequently these sunsets are accompanied by a green flash (called, not surprisingly, an inferior mirage flash). I did not get a green flash on this trip, probably due to a somewhat hazy atmosphere scattering the green light (shorter wavelength light is scatter more than longer wavelength light).
Unfortunately, my camera died on this trip…the shutter went bad and then when I got it back the power board went (they are fixing that for free) but the upshot is, I have been without my camera for a while and I am getting antsy to get it back and start shooting again!
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