Photo emission phenomenon and reliability of thermal oxides grown on n-type 4H-SiC (0001) wafer have been investigated using photo emission microscope. Thermal oxides were grown by dry oxidation, and treated in nitrous oxide atmosphere as followed by hydrogen post oxidation annealing. An initial photo emission phenomenon with weak intensity exists just after stress current is applied to the thermal oxide. It is confirmed that most initial emission occurred at the same position as dielectric breakdown of the thermal oxide. Also, the initial emission phenomenon was observed in the MOS capacitors broken by extrinsic defects such as threading screw dislocations and surface defects. In addition, the photo emission due to Fowler-Nordheim tunnel current through the thermal oxide has peak intensity at 2.48 eV.