The shot was chosen by NASA as the astronomical photo of the day, 30 May 2020. The photo frames and gives us back the “Green Flash (green ray)”, caused by a refraction of sunlight through the atmosphere. “It is very difficult to capture a solar green ray – explains Pace to AGI – and even rarer is to catch the lunar one. It is even more difficult to photograph those of Venus and Mercury: the Iblei coast, south east of Sicily, offers some of the best azimuth exposures for shooting at sunset, and these phenomena can be observed with less rarity than elsewhere“.
The photos were taken in Sicily in Marina di Ragusa on March 18 (Sun), in Modica on May 8 (Moon) and May 24, 2020, on the occasion of the conjunction of Venus and Mercury.
Elementary school teacher and astrophotography, Pace is a UAI (Italian Amateur Astronomers Union) member, and a member of the group “Pictores Caeli”, a group of astrophotographers already known at the Apod. The US Space Agency’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day” provides each day a different image of our Universe accompanied by a brief explanation edited by astronomers Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.
“This is the third recognition that I receive from NASA – Pace adds, who collects their work on www.greenflash.photo – I am always happy to offer NASA my images of atmospheric and astronomical optical phenomena, because the vocation is not only scientific in the sense narrow, but also didactic and popularization of NASA is in full harmony with the other aspect of my professional life at school: I love trying to convey my love for observing what seems obvious in nature, and therefore unnoticed. My photos are shots of what is there for all to see, if only we stopped to observe the world around us, without too many distractions “.
Observing, as Verne did: “Well, the first time you have the opportunity – very rarely – to make this observation – he wrote again – it will not be, as you might believe, a red ray that will hit the retina of your eye, but a “green” ray, but of a wonderful green, of a green that no painter can get on his palette, of a green whose nuance nature has never reproduced nor among the so varied hues of plants, nor in the color of the clearest seas! If there is green in paradise, it can only be this, that it is undoubtedly the true green of Hope!“.