Auckland photographer snaps rare green sunset in Cook Islands

Auckland man Jack Lee captured the rare green sunset while holidaying in the Cook Islands last year.
Auckland man Jack Lee captured the rare green sunset while holidaying in the Cook Islands last year. Photo credit: Jack Lee/Caters

It's a moment so rare it is invisible to the naked eye, but a quick-thinking photographer captured an unusual green sunset on camera.

Auckland man, Jack Lee, was holidaying in the Cook Islands in late August last year when he captured what is known as a green flash sunset on his DSLR camera.

Noticing the optimal conditions, the 52-year-old started rapidly snapping the sun as it descended from a bank of dark clouds and dipped behind the ocean.

Mr Lee caught the fleeting moment when a glowing green flash appeared where the rim of the sun met the ocean's surface before sinking from view.

The stunning unedited photographs racked up hundreds of likes when he shared them to social media for the first time last week.

A professional landscape photographer Mr Lee said: "I was so lucky to capture this, it's almost impossible to see for the naked eye.

"It's very fast, only momentary. I knew the sky was clear and the sun was setting on the southern horizon, so I put a telephoto lens [on] and started clicking rapidly.

"I've never seen it before, but I had researched it extensively and been wanting to capture it for a while. When the sun started dipping I just took my chances."

The ultra-rare spectacle is a result of the atmospheric transferring of sunlight into the colour spectrum.

The atmosphere transfers sunlight into reds, greens and blues depending upon the angle.

On a clear sky, fortunate spectators can catch a glimpse of a green just above the upper rim of the sun for a split second at sunrise and sundown.

Now, Mr Lee is planning to make magic again by hunting the elusive phenomenon for a second time.

"I know what to watch out with the conditions now, so I'm definitely planning to capture this again. Photography is my passion."

 

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