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Sun Shines Down On Lahaina Noon

Haleakala National Park

National Park News

At 12:37 p.m. (HST) on July 16th, Haleakala National Park employees observed the phenomenon known as "Lahaina Noon" in which their shadows appear directly beneath them.

On one day each May and another each July, the sun is directly overhead on the major islands of the Hawaiian chain.  These two days occur on different dates and times, depending on the latitude.

As the sun moves northward from the Equator toward the Topic of Cancer, it passes directly overhead at all latitudes in between.  Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that experiences Lahaina Noon because of its location within the tropics.

In 1990, Honolulu’s Bishop Museum Planetarium sponsored a contest to name this bi-annual event.  The winning entry, “Lahaina Noon”, means “Cruel Sun” in the Hawaiian language.



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