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:

Hurricane Season Starts June 1

Hurricane Season Starts June 1NOAA predicts a near- or above-normal 2017 Central Pacific Hurricane Season

NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center announced that climate conditions point to an 80 percent chance of a near- or above-normal hurricane season in the Central Pacific basin this year.

For 2017, the outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 5 to 8 tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. An average season produces 4 to 5 tropical cyclones.

“As a Florida resident, I am particularly proud of the important work NOAA does in weather forecasting and hurricane prediction,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These forecasts are important for both public safety and business planning, and are a crucial function of the federal government.”

El Nino decreases the vertical wind shear over the tropical central Pacific, which favors the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones. El Nino also favors more westward-tracking storms from the eastern Pacific into the central Pacific.

“This outlook reflects the possible transition to a weak El Nino during the hurricane season, along with near- or above-average ocean temperatures in the main hurricane formation region, and near- or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that area,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. Bell added, “If El Nino develops, it may become strong enough to produce an above-normal season.”

The Central Pacific basin may also be shifting toward a longer-term period of increased tropical cyclone activity, in response to changes in global sea surface temperatures patterns in both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean which historically last anywhere from 25 to 40 years.

This outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity in the central Pacific basin and does not predict whether, or how many, of these systems will affect Hawaii. Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs until November 30.

“The 2017 hurricane season marks 25 years since Hurricane Iniki, which brought life-changing impacts that have lasted more than a generation,” said Chris Brenchley, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Considering the devastation we saw from Iniki, as well as the more recent impacts from Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Darby, make sure you and your family are prepared for hurricane season. Become weather-ready by signing up for weather alerts, developing and practicing a family emergency plan and restocking your emergency kit before hurricane season begins.”

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners. This array of data supplies the information for complex computer modeling and human expertise that serves as the basis for the hurricane center’s track and intensity forecasts that extend out five days. The seasonal hurricane outlook is produced in collaboration with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Low Level Clouds Obscure Hawaii Solar Eclipse

Clouds Obscure Solar Eclipse

Low level clouds obscured most of yesterday’s (March 8) partial solar eclipse in Honolulu, Hawaii. The ideal location along the city’s coastline would have been spectacular had the weather cooperated in its typical, sunny fashion.

Instead of sunshine and clear skies, eclipse viewers were disappointed to see the thick layer of clouds obscuring the sunshine. Viewers endured and managed to get a few half decent shots of the sun going into eclipse up to about 10%. The 70% maximum coverage was not obtained because the afternoon sun moved closer to the horizon and into more cloud cover.

The cameras used to get these pictures were a Fujifilm FinePix HS10 with a Marumi 58mm solar filter (shown below) made especially for photographing the sun. The other camera used was a Canon Powershot S5 iS for the documentary shots.

More views from yesterday’s partial solar eclipse — cloudy day in Hawaii.

Clouds Obscure Solar Eclipse

Clouds Obscure Solar Eclipse