First Sunrise & Full Moon of 2018

First Sunrise of 2018

First Sunrise of 2018

2018 started off with a spectacular full moon (a rarity for the first day of the year) and sunrise as captured in these images taken from Diamond Head Lookout in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Sunrise viewers had to get up early to catch the sunrise which occurred slightly after 7:08 a.m. in the morning.

The hour leading up to sunrise was filled with a starlit sky that gradually became the first morning on the new year, as the sun’s light slowly turned night into day.

It is hoped that with the dawn of a new day as well as a new year, that 2018 will be a year filled with peace, love and prosperity. Here’s wishing all of our readers the best in the new year.

First Sunrise of 2018

The sun rises in the east between the island of Maui and Lanai (above and below). Photos taken by Mel on January 1, 2018.

First Sunrise of 2018

First Day Sunrise Viewers

Spectators take in the sight of the new day in the new year of 2018.

Dawn’s Early Light

First Full Moon of 2018

The full moon which made an appearance on this first day of the new year of 2018, slowly left Hawaii as it moved on to Eastern Asia. Early risers were treated to the rare sight of a new year’s full moon setting about a half hour before sunrise. These two photos show the moon setting behind the bulk of Diamond Head mountain on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

First Full Moon of 2018

More photos can be found on the Hawaii Files Flickr page. Images and text by Melvin Ah Ching.

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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

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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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

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March 20 Solar Eclipse

The word “totality” has always signaled feelings of “elusiveness” and “let down” ever since I missed seeing that phase of the 1991 total eclipse in Hawaii. As a term used to define solar eclipses, NASA defines “totality” as “the maximum phase of a total eclipse during which the Moon’s disk completely covers the Sun. Totality is the period between second and third contact during a total solar eclipse. It can last from a fraction of a second to a maximum of 7 minutes 32 seconds.”

The world was treated to a total solar eclipse in northern Europe on March 20, 2015. The eclipse was broadcast online from two locations – Faroe Islands and Northern Norway. The video feed from Faroe was washed out with clouds, though the people there did experience totality as the moon’s shadow passed over the area. Viewers in Northern Norway had clear weather and this was shown in the video feed off of which I got the screenshots shown above. Video was webcast from

A total eclipse last happened in Hawaii on Thursday, July 11, 1991. The path of totality brought the Earth’s shadow over the entire Big Island of Hawaii. I was there at “Ground Zero” on the west side of the island in Waikoloa. Thousands of people flocked to the Big Island and many were in Waikoloa. Totality was to be as long as 6 minutes in that location. Hundreds of us were there watching the moon slowly take a bite out of the sun that morning. However at the very last minute, just before totality, a large, black cloud worked its way into the front of the sun and totally blocked out “totality”. After spending a lot of money on this, I missed totality.

There won’t be another total eclipse in Hawaii until sometime in the early 22nd century.

THE AUGUST 21, 2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE (map below)

Map of the solar eclipse 2017 USA OSM Zoom1.png
By Wolfgang Strickling – Eclipse 2017 Android App, Geodata from OpenStreetMap, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

The next accessible total solar eclipse in the United States will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. The path of totality will cover a narrow area over the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. The place of greatest totality will be Shawnee National Forest near Carbondale, Illinois. Totality in that location will last 2 minutes and 44 seconds. The rest of the U.S. will experience a partial solar eclipse which also includes Hawaii.

The question for me is do I want to spend a lot of money to go to the U.S. mainland to see this total eclipse.


Solar eclipses notwithstanding, Hawaii and the rest of the world frequently get to see total lunar eclipses. While the phenomenon itself is still rare, it is far more common than a total solar eclipse. I have seen and photographed several lunar eclipses. The earth’s shadow blots out the sunlight from the moon casting our satellite in an eerie, reddish light.

Chart of Hawaii Lunar Eclipse
Click to enlarge

On Saturday morning April 4, weather cooperating, a total lunar eclipse should be visible in Hawaii. The eclipse starts at 11:00 pm Friday night April 3 and reaches totality at 2:00 am April 4. The eclipse will wane and finish a minute before 5:00 am Hawaii time. The total eclipse will also be visible in parts of the U.S. mainland.

In recent years I have been successful to get a few good shots of recent lunar eclipses. Below is a sequence of shots taken on October 8, 2014 of a total lunar eclipse that was visible in Honolulu and all of Hawaii. (Photos by Melvin Ah Ching Productions, Copyright 2014)

6 Phases of Today's Lunar EclipseMore Eclipse Photos at

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