The Green Flash y la Promesa de un Nuevo Amanecer

Este fenómeno astronómico, popularizado por Julio Verne en su obra de 1882 “The Green Ray” y otros múltiples medios, fue nuevamente tema de discusión y asombro en redes sociales por curiosos y/o aficionados de los cielos en los últimos años. Lo que fue una vez un mito entre pilotos, navegantes y paisajistas, efecto comúnmente conocido como “green flash” o también “green rim”, no puede estar más alejado de ser un flash (destello), ya que el mismo no se intensifica sino por el contrario se disipa. 

  Escena extracto de la pelicula Piratas del Caribe 3.

Para el ojo inexperto podría resultar fácil asimilarlo con las luces del norte o auroras boreales, lo cual no es del todo correcto, al ser este un fenómeno causado por viento solar que impacta en la magnetósfera terrestre.  Este fenómeno resulta caer en uno de los principios más antiguos de la física: la Óptica y la refracción de la luz. Para ser más específicos, la dispersión de la misma. 

CONCEPTO

En el siguiente artículo nos adentraremos en detalles sobre la naturaleza de la percepción de los colores, más bien los principios físicos de la misma.

Un ejemplo práctico de la aplicación sería el de un rayo de luz solar atravesando un prisma de cristal, aplicando los principios redactados por el físico-matemático Isaac Newton sobre la dispersión de la luz, en conjunto con las leyes expuestas por el matemático Willebrord Snel acerca los ángulos de refracción de la luz.

                                                             Prisma de Newton.

Se puede observar cómo una vez que la luz blanca atraviesa un medio refractor, esta se descompone en sus distintos componentes, denominados radiaciones monocromáticas, más conocidas por colores.

A cada color va asignado una longitud de onda y frecuencia distinta, yendo desde los rojos a violetas, siendo los infrarrojos y ultravioletas imperceptibles al ojo humano.

Teniendo en cuenta lo anterior, se enuncia que: a mayor longitud de onda (menor frecuencia), menor será el ángulo de refracción y viceversa. 

Es importante aclarar este principio ya que es vital a la hora de explicar este fenómeno y muchos otros como arcoíris, halos solares, etc.

El mismo concepto es aplicable a nuestra atmosfera que, con sus distintas capas y dependiendo del ángulo de incidencia de la luz solar, las temperaturas entre ellas provocan que estos gases atrapados tengan diferentes propiedades atómicas haciendo de nuestro prisma ejemplo, y así refractándola, pero en una escala mucho mayor. Haciendo que estas variaciones de colores se dispersen aún más, predominando una sobre otra formando por el día los azules y en la tarde los rojos.

                                                     Momentos del ocaso en donde se onserva el fenómeno.

Específicamente, las causas del fenómeno se encuentran en la refracción de la luz al atravesar la atmósfera: la luz se mueve más lentamente en el aire más bajo, comúnmente más denso, que, en el aire en capas superiores, menos denso. 

Como anteriormente mencionado, la luz de alta frecuencia es desviada con más facilidad que la luz de baja frecuencia, se podría decir que “rebotan” dentro de la atmósfera antes de finalmente escapar de la misma, de forma que los rayos verdes y azules de la parte superior del Sol son mucho más predominantes en el horizonte mientras que los rayos rojos (de forma general a la gama de colores, y el espectro rojo del sol) están tapados por el mismo.

Esto da la impresión de una luz verde desde nuestro punto de vista, ya que en realidad no son más que una débil percepción de los últimos rayos azules (siendo el verde un intermedio entre ambos rojo y azul en el espectro) que consiguen ser visibles. Inclusive con las condiciones adecuadas de extrema pureza y por ende baja turbulencia del aire, se puede llegar a apreciar un “aro azul” o “flash azul”. 

¿COMO Y DONDE VERLO?

Se facilita bastante el fenómeno al tener presencia de un espejismo marino que intensifica los azules y verdes, además se recomienda un aire limpio, libre de turbulencias que puedan mezclar los colores entre sí. 

Se aconseja, además, no mirar directamente al sol sino hasta los últimos instantes del atardecer, preferentemente con binoculares o telescopio reflector.

NOTA DEL AUTOR

Es difícil no percatarse como la naturaleza no desiste al sorprendernos con detalles como éste, cómo nos atrapa desde su belleza para enseñarnos lo imprescindible y lo correcto, como una madre.

Madre y dueña de toda la vida en nuestro planeta, aquella que nos brinda toda la energía que posee incondicionalmente.

Y ante los momentos más oscuros y de penurias de nuestro pasar, nos regala un destello de esperanza para así no temer a la penumbra y el silencio, bajo la promesa de un nuevo amanecer.

  • “Ojos al cielo”.

Por Saúl Silva.

Fuentes y recomendaciones:

“Explaining Green flashes” – Andrew young.

https://aty.sdsu.edu/explain/obs_colors.html

“Catching the Elusive Green Flash” – Susan Borowsky. 

https://www.aaas.org/catching-elusive-green-flash

“Green Flash: Not that rare…” – Posy. 

https://youtu.be/O5pg843QhHc

El Parlante

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