Lahaina Noon in Hawai’i

Lahaina noon no shadow
(c) KITV.com

Lahaina noon no shadow
(c) KITV.com

By Jeffrey the Barak

The State of Hawai’i is the only place in the United States in which you can lose your shadow, outside, in the middle of the day. when there are no clouds. In Hawai’i this is known as Lahaina Noon and it happens twice a year, but on different dates, depending where you are within the State.

At the equator, which is far South of Hawai’i, the Sun is also overhead twice a year, at the spring and autumn equinoxes, which are usually around March 21st and September the 21st. The twice yearly equinox gives every place on Earth a day as long as the night, but since the twilight before dawn and after dusk is a kind of daylight, the days seem longer than the nights, even at the equinox, and the further you are from the equator, the longer the period of twilight.

On each Tropic, right on the imaginary line on the globe or map at 23.5 degrees North or South, the sun is overhead once a year. For the Northern Tropic of Cancer it’s on or near June 21st and for the Southern Tropic of Capricorn it’s on or near January 21st. These dates are Midsummer’s day in the corresponding hemisphere.

For any place in the tropics, that is between 23.5 degrees North and South, you can lose your shadow on two certain dates each year. North or South of the tropical zone, the sun is never overhead.

Lahaina Noon is named for the old Hawaiian capital Lahaina, on the Island of Maui. Because Hawai’i is spread over a large area, the dates for Lahaina noon vary greatly from the last piece of dry black lava rock at South Point on the Big Island to a small rock off the Northern tip of the island of Kauai near the Kilauea Lighthouse.

In Honolulu, O’ahu,  Lahaina Noon is on May 26th or 27th and June 15th or 16th as the sun approaches and recedes from it’s rendezvous with the Tropic of Cancer on June 21st. The dates may vary each year because while our solar system is fairly consistent, our calendars are flawed by their strange political history.

In Hilo, Hawai’i, it’s usually May 18th and July 24th, because its further South.

In it’s namesake town of Lahaina, Maui, the dates are usually May 24th and July 18th.

 

Author Jeffrey the Barak thinks too much about stuff like this when he could be doing something useful.

 

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