Hawaii’s Glimpse at the Great American Solar Eclipse

2017 Hawaii Solar Eclipse

Today's Solar Eclipse

By Melvin Ah Ching, Editor & Publisher, The Hawaii Files Blog

As solar eclipses go, yesterday’s partial one in Honolulu was adequately good. The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 was a huge phenomena and event throughout the continental United States as the path of totality traveled eastward in a narrow 70 mile wide band from the Oregon coast to the tip of South Carolina. Much of the continent had a good partial eclipse that covered most of the sun.

In a solar eclipse, the moon’s shadow blots out the sunlight as it passes between the sun and the Earth. During totality that shadow blocks out nearly all sunlight except for a narrow band around the perimeter that creates a remarkable and unforgettable view. Solar eclipses are rare occurrences that track within small and varied regions of Earth’s surface. Within the eclipse’s band, many areas get a partial eclipse while totality only occurs within a smaller zone.

Millions of people on the U.S. continent witnessed and captured images of the eclipse going into and out of totality including the 2 minute long phase of full shadowed coverage.

In Honolulu, my friend Lisa Davidson and I awoke early and trekked to the Waialae Kahala Beach Park an hour before sunrise to secure a good viewing spot that I scoped out the day before. Anticipating the eclipse, which started near Hawaii, Lisa and I both photographed the changing light around us as night receded into the new day. The rising sun was going to be in the eclipse process. I had to be prepared for that.

I had three cameras with me including my Canon 600D SLR with a 300mm lens set up on a tripod, Fujifilm HS10 EVF with a wide to long built in zoom lens, and a Samsung smart phone that can also do pictures. Lisa had her trusty little Samsung that she used to catch the “feel” of the moments. We both had protective eclipse viewers that I got last year from Bishop Museum. I used the 58mm screw on sun filter for the cameras to get eclipse images.

We were set. We waited. Talked. Photographed. The sunrise was pretty, but the clouds were getting in the way. I was wondering if the clouds would pre-empt my eclipse view.

Eclipse times for Hawaii from timeanddate.com.

Sunrise in Honolulu was at 6:11 am. Moonrise was 2 minutes earlier at 6:09am. The eclipse began at 5:50am before the sun rose. Everything was in motion for a good eclipse except for the clouds.

It was not until 7:16 am that I caught my first fleeting glimpse of the sun poking through the clouds. I fired the Canon for a continuous burst of images as the clouds slowly broke and the sun revealed its new face for a few moments. And then the clouds rolled back in.

I got a few images but I wanted more. My wish came true as the clouds slowly blew away and the eclipsed sun appeared again as I fired more frames off with the camera. I got my 20% or probably a little less than that. It was better than nothing and certainly better than the 10% that I got during last year’s eclipse from Magic Island.

I snapped more photos in the next 15 minutes of the waning spectacle.

Lisa was thrilled as she was able to see the eclipse through my camera’s LCD screen and the protective filters that allowed us to view the show with our own eyes. She was very thankful that I shared these moments with her.

One of Lisa’s most mystical experiences was viewing a total solar eclipse when she was nine, living in New Hampshire. “The intense darkness in the middle of the day fueled my fascination with astronomy and science fiction. I’ll never forget how all the birds suddenly went silent.”

By 7:30 in the morning the Hawaii eclipse was over. The sun was out, the day was bright and life would continue as it always does.

It turns out that this year’s solar eclipse is the last one to be visible in Hawaii until April 8, 2024, when another total eclipse will be viewable in the continental United States. The next total solar eclipse occurs in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and over the South American countries of Chile and Argentina on July 2, 2019.

Photos by Mel unless indicated.

Today's Solare EclipseThis is one of the best shots I got of yesterday’s solar eclipse. Investing in a screw on solar lens filter is worth the money!

Sunlit Clouds Over Koko HeadThe beautiful but sunlight blocking clouds over Koko Head

What To Watch
Catching a live video stream while waiting for clouds to depart.

Monday Morning SunriseThe beautiful Hawaiian sunrise and clouds blocked the sun for nearly 40 minutes after the eclipse began.

Streaming From OregonWatching a live stream from Oregon as we waited out the clouds.

Today's Solar EclipseYou can get a decent shot out of your cell phone camera if you put one of those protective eye safety filters in front of your camera lens. Lisa did that and it got her this picture with the tiny sun chopped slightly to the bottom left.

Eclipse 2017 - 1Solar eclipse view from Ontario, Canada. Keith Watson Photography.

2017 Aug. 21 ~ The Diamond Ring - total solar eclipseTotality, August 21, 2017 – Kansas, United States. Michael Watson, photographer.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse - ISS TransitInternational Space Station in transit ahead of the moon. NASA. You can also see sunspots in this excellent photo.

KHON TV’s McKenna Maduli reports on the eclipse from Waialae Kahala Beach park not too far away from where we were. There are 3 clips embedded in this video composite.

Additional Links:

Kaiwi the Hawaiian Monk Seal Came In For a Snooze

Kaiwi, the Hawaiian Monk Seal

This is Kaiwi, a Hawaiian Monk Seal who took time out this morning to rest on the shoreline of Queen’s Beach in Waikiki. She is known to NOAA animal officials who monitor the endangered species. The seal was born  in 2016 at the Ka Iwi area of Oahu island.

Hawaiian Monk Seals are an endangered species and are protected bynow protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Kaiwi has frequented the Waikiki area in the past, most recently in July during the time that another female monk seal named “Rocky” gave birth and nutured her pup on Kaimana Beach near the Waikiki Natatorium.

People are reminded to keep their distance away from the Hawaiian Monk Seal. It is a violation of several federal laws to go near or harass a monk seal.

Needless to say the seals do attract a crowd as they did this morning. NOAA officials were quickly dispatched to the scene to establish a secure zone around the seal. Many people including I hung around for a while to get pictures. The photos accompanying this piece were shot between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. in the morning.

More photos are on the Hawaii Files Flickr page.

People can report Hawaiian Monk Seal sightings to the NOAA. There is also a Facebook page.

Kaiwi the Hawaiian Monk SealHere’s looking at you kid.

Keep Your Distance from the SealKeep your distance from the seal. Do not approach. Seal sleeping.

Kaiwi just wants to sleepAll Kaiwi came to the beach to do is sleep. She gets first class treatment in the heart of Waikiki with her own beach zone.

More photos on Flickr.

Public Hearing on Rail Taxes Set at State Legislature

Hawaii taxpayers may have a last chance to stop the rail project by sending in testimony and hoping that the Hawaii State Legislature will do the sensible thing and not waste taxpayer money to call a special session to increase or extend taxes to pay for rail.

In an email sent out to subscribers, longtime rail opponent Dennis Callan urges the public to send in testimony for a legislative hearing coming up this Monday, August 14:

“Extension of the rail tax is going to be considered on Monday morning at an “informational briefing” at the capitol auditorium.  The legislature has scheduled the Special Session public hearing on increasing the rail tax and I urge you to participate.

Email them your testimony now, and come to the hearing if you can:

DATE: Monday, August 14, 2017
TIME:  10:00 a.m.
PLACE:  Auditorium, State Capitol

Public testimony will be accepted but it must be emailed first:
“Testimony must be submitted via email to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy at: TRETestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov

Take one minute right now to compose a quick message and email it in.  This will put you on the list of testifiers and you can then expand on your thoughts while speaking.

This might be our very last chance to make our voices heard. Please participate!!

It is going to be an extraordinary combined hearing in front of all five subject committees, so this is your chance to reach 50 decision-makers.

Yes, they have been ignoring us for ten years, yes, they have probably already made up their minds to push this rail disaster through to the very end, but we have a responsibility to do everything possible to stop it.  If the public were to participate in large numbers, this train wreck could be stopped, perhaps by ending it at Middle Street, which would save billions and prevent the city center from being damaged by the useless elevated monstrosity.

Say whatever you like in your testimony, express your feelings as you see fit, but do something!

It is going to be a big event with a packed house and members of five committees, so you might want to get there early…but first, right now, email them a brief statement  TRETestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov



Here is the hearing notice:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_TRE-PSM-WAM-TRN-FIN_08-14-17_INFO_.HTM  “

Photo credit: The first trainset for the w:en:Honolulu Rail Transit project on display at the HART vehicle maintenance facility in Pearl City, Hawaii. By Musashi 1600.

Mayor Signs Bill to Ban Plastic Bags

Honolulu Hale (City Hall)

Among the 4 bills signed into law this month, the mayor decided to ban plastic bags. Ordinance 17-37 (Bill 59) will put a permanent ban on plastic bags given or sold to customers at the check-out line at business establishments.

There will be exemptions on plastic bag use within a store or other business for specific uses:

  • Bags used by customers inside a business to package loose items,
    such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, ground coffee, grains, candies, or
    small hardware items:
  • Bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, flowers or
    potted plants, or other items to contain dampness;
  • Bags used to protect or transport prepared foods, beverages, or
    bakery goods;
  • Bags provided by pharmacists to contain prescription medications;
  • Newspaper bags for home newspaper delivery:

Read the bill to get the entire list of plastic bag exemptions.

This is the latest law signed by the mayor that is anti-business and anti-consumer.

Another bill signed by the mayor into law is one that bans the use of electronic devices (Ordinance 17-39 / Bill 6 – 2017) by pedestrians while in a crosswalk. It is similar to a law that bans motorists from using a device while driving.

The latest list of bills signed into law by the mayor is listed below:

2017 Ordinances

Ordinance 17-37 – Relating to bags provided to customers.

Ordinance 17-38 – Relating the maintenance of channels, streambeds, streambanks and drainageways.

Ordinance 17-39 – Relating to mobile electronic devices.

Ordinance 17-40 – Relating to the Land Use Ordinance.

Ordinance 17-40 [Bill 79 (2015), CD2] – To amend Chapter 21, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as amended (The Land Use Ordinance), relating to the Land Use Ordinance.

Gathering of Geeks & Fans

Geeks and storm troopers

Many people attended this past weekend’s 10th Annual Hawaii Geek Meet, which bills itself as “a fun, casual, family-friendly, grassroots gathering for people who are curious and have a passion that they love to share.” Geeks include coders, gadget lovers, designers, makers, artists and probably most of all, fans like you and I. There is a bit of geek in all of us.

This annual picnic was a fun, family oriented venue where people checked out an assortment of “geeky things” such as games, Star War characters, lego blocks, radio broadcasting, cosplay, coding, nerf battles, drone technology and more. It was also an opportunity to meet some interesting people and network. Interesting stuff to see if you want to have fun and just be “out there”.

Ellen from Drone Services Hawaii and a new, small drone.

What’s up with these license plates? Perhaps striking the rainbow design?

Getting ready for a nerf gun battle.

Gamers were there touting Shakesperian readings of the Star Wars story.

Look directly at the image of the sun on this clever device.

A lego fudgesicle. Fat free!

The crew from the Pacific Aviation Museum.

All photos taken on July 2, 2017 at Magic Island by Mel. More photos at The Hawaii Files page on Flickr.com.