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.

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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.

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5.1 Earthquake Hits Hawaii Island

Earthquake south of Volcano prelim @ 5.1

Earthquakes are not uncommon to Hawaii Island. They are a daily occurrence, and most are unfelt. This morning a temblor initially measured at 5.1 was felt on many parts of the Big Island at 7:01 a.m.

Check the earthquake map at the HVO for the latest update:


Earthquake with aftershocks

Earthquake with smaller aftershocks factored in.

Graphics from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

Hawaii County Civil Defense Alert: Earthquake Information Update For Thursday, June 8th At 7:15 Am

“This is an Earthquake information update for Thursday, June 8 at 7:15 AM.  The earthquake which occurred at approximately 7:01 AM was not large enough to cause a tsunami for the Island or State of Hawaii.  Preliminary data indicates that the earthquake measured 5.1 on the Richter scale and was centered in the vicinity of the south flank of Kilauea Volcano.  As in all earthquakes, be aware of the possibility of aftershocks.  If the earthquake was strongly felt in your area, precautionary checks should be made for any damages, especially to utility connections of gas, water and power.  Again, the earthquake which occurred at 7:01 AM measured approximately 5.1 and was not strong enough to cause a tsunami for the Island or State of Hawaii.”

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