Simulation of the Sunrise Inferior-Mirage Red Flash

The inferior-mirage red flash at sunrise

Here's the inferior-mirage red flash at sunrise, seen from a height of 4 meters above sea level, and played in real time (if you have a fast graphics system):

animation of an inferior-mirage sunrise red flash

(The animation is about 141 kB, so it may take a while to load.)

As usual, I have reversed the sunset flash sequence to simulate a sunrise. The red edges of the indentations at the fold line grow wider as the dents grow deeper; then they join to form a momentary red flash, which seems to stretch like taffy as it pulls apart and breaks.

These red flashes are not usually seen without optical aid, as they are drowned out by the much brighter disk and its reflection below. Through binoculars, they are a pretty sight, though not as spectacular as the corresponding green flashes. However, they can sometimes be seen when the atmospheric extinction is too great to transmit any green light near the horizon.

© 1999 – 2002, 2005, 2006 Andrew T. Young

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