Many try to catch a green flash of the sun, shortly after sunset or before sunrise, when the sun is nearly entirely below the horizon. When just the barest edge of the sun’s upper edge is visible, you might – if you’re lucky and have a far, very clear horizon – see a brief flash of the color green.
But a green flash with Venus?
Yes. To the eye, Venus looks like a dazzlingly bright star, but, if you viewed it through a telescope now, you’d see Venus as a little disk. And, right now, you’d find that Venus is in a crescent phase – much like a tiny crescent moon – because it’ll soon pass between the Earth and sun. Its lighted side, or day side, is turned mostly away from us now. And if you had that telescope, and that far horizon, you might catch what Colin Legg of Australia has captured here: a Venus green flash. Colin told us:
It was taken Friday evening (February 17, 2017) with Venus around 2 degrees above Indian Ocean horizon. The telescope was a C8 2000 mm. The photo is cropped 2.5 x.
Colin Legg is a master sky photographer. Be sure to visit his Facebook page! And if you’re still not convinced that the photo above is Venus … contrast it to the photo below, which Colin captured on January 4, 2017. He calls this photo a melting moon.
Bottom line: Crescent Venus and Venus green flash!
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.