Lahaina Noon

One of the (clearly very few) benefits of living in Honolulu is that twice a year we get to witness an astronomical phenomenon that only happens in the tropics. The phenomenon is known as Lahaina Noon and in layman’s terms it’s when the Sun is directly overhead. Outside the tropics while the Sun gets to its highest point in the sky at local noon, this high point isn’t high enough for it to be directly overhead. Over the course of a year, any point in the tropics will have the Sun pass overhead twice every year on either side of the Summer Solstice.

The model boating pond in Ala Moana Park at Lahaina Noon

The most immediately cool thing about Lahaina Noon is that shadows are cast straight down. Hence some things have minimal shadows while others have none. It’s quite strange to be in bright sunlight and seeing a signpost casting no shadow. Does that make it a vampire signpost or something? Anyway I went to Ala Moana Park today and took some pictures of things with no or minimal shadows,

As he faced the Sun he cast no shadow, a sign at Lahaina Noon.

So is this a vampire lampost?

Some canoes, casting shadows straight down

It should be noted that the name Lanhaina Noon was chosen as part of a contest run by The Bishop Museum who have a very nice planetarium. Lahaina means “cruel Sun” and also a a town on Maui. Lahaina Noon in Lahaina is on the 18th of July at 12:32, a more comprehensive list of Lahaina Noon times for the islands is here.

2 Comments on “Lahaina Noon”

  1. Todd Lewis says:

    In the background, is that the harbor entrance seen in “Gilligan’s Island”?

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