Lahaina Noon

Lāhainā Noon is a bi-annual tropical solar phenomenon when the Sun culminates at the zenith at solar noon, passing directly overhead (above the subsolar point).[1] The term Lāhainā Noon was coined by the Bishop Museum in Hawai'i.


The subsolar point travels through the tropics. Hawaii is the only US state in the tropics and thus the only one to experience Lāhainā Noon.[2]

Hawaii and other locations between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn receive the sun's direct rays as the apparent path of the sun passes overhead before and after the summer solstice.

The Lāhainā Noon can occur anywhere from 12:16 to 12:43 p.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time. At that moment objects that stand straight up (flagpoles, telephone poles, etc.) cast no shadow. The most southerly points in Hawaii experience Lāhainā Noon on earlier and later dates than the northern parts. For example, in 2001 Hilo on the Island of Hawaiʻi encountered the overhead sun around May 18 and July 24, Kahului, Maui on May 24 and July 18, Honolulu, Oahu on May 26 and July 15 and Lihue, Kauai on May 31 and July 11. Between each pair of dates, the sun is slightly to the north at noon.[3]

Chosen in a contest sponsored by the Bishop Museum in the 1990s, Lāhainā Noon was the selected appellation because lā hainā (the old name for Lāhainā, Hawaii) means "cruel sun" in the Hawaiian language.[4] The ancient Hawaiian name for the event was kau ka lā i ka lolo which translates as "the sun rests on the brains."[2][5]

In popular cultureEdit

The event is covered by Hawaii media.[2][6][7][8]

Activities are associated with the event.[9] The phenomenon occurs in stories, including "Lāhainā Noon" by Eric Paul Shaffer (Leaping Dog, 2005),[10] which won the Ka Palapala Po'okela book award for Excellence in "Aloha from beyond Hawai'i".[11][12]

Sky Gate, a unique sculpture in Honolulu created by world-renowned artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, features a bendy, bumpy ring that drastically changes height as it goes around. Most of the year, it makes a curvy, twisted shadow on the ground, but during "Lahaina Noon", the height-changing ring casts a perfect circular shadow on the ground.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Clock, sun rarely match at noon Explanation of Lahaina Noon[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Nancy Alima Ali (May 11, 2010). "Noon sun not directly overhead everywhere". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  3. ^ "'Lahaina Noon' coming here soon". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. May 23, 2001. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  4. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel Hoyt Elbert and Esther T. Mookini (2004). "lookup of Lā-hainā ". in Place Names of Hawai'i. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  5. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Hoyt Elbert (2003). "lookup of Lolo". in Hawaiian Dictionary. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  6. ^ "Newswatch: Shadows disappear today at Lahaina noon". Honoluu Star-Bulletin. May 27, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  7. ^ Kaichi, Carolyn (April 29, 2007). "Earth at prime tilt to view Mercury at apex". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Miura, Kelli (July 11, 2008). "Lahaina Noon flits over Honolulu on Tuesday". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Liliha Library to host 'Lāhainā Noon,' 'StarLab' astro events". Honolulu Advertiser. July 15, 2008. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  10. ^ Adams, Wanda A. (June 26, 2005). "'Lāhainā Noon' about a warm, clear feeling". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Ka Palapala Po'okela winners named". Honolulu Advertiser. October 29, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Nakaso, Dan (May 26, 2011). "Shadow lessons: Educators will show kids and adults the marvels of a Lahaina Noon event". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Archived from the original on August 4, 2011.
  13. ^ Keany, Michael (June 30, 2008). "Skygate". Honolulu magazine. Retrieved September 9, 2020.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit