Tag Archives: Hawaii

Lahaina Noon, 2017

The Bishop Museum of Honolulu has published the dates of Lahaina Noon for 2017. Lahaina Noon is the popular name for kau ka lā i ka lolo, when the sun is directly overhead. The two dates for selected cities are as follows.

Līhue:   May 31 12:35 p.m.July 12 12:42 p.m.

Kāne‘ohe:   May 27 12:28 p.m.July 15 12:37 p.m.

Honolulu:   May 26 12:28 p.m.July 16 12:37 p.m.

Kaunakakai:   May 25 12:25 p.m.July 16 12:34 p.m.

Lāna‘i City:   May 23 12:24 p.m.July 18 12:34 p.m.

Lahaina:   May 24 12:23 p.m.July 18 12:33 p.m.

Kahului:   May 2412:22 p.m.July 18 12:32 p.m.

Hana:   May 23 12:20 p.m.July 18 12:30 p.m.

Hilo:   May 18 12:16 p.m.July 24 12:27 p.m.

Kailua-Kona:   May 18 12:20 p.m.July 24 12:30 p.m.

South Point Island of Hawai‘i:   May 14 12:19 p.m.July 27 12:28 p.m.



Lahaina Noon Update:  Kau ka la i ka lolo


Our earlier post on Lahaiana Noon , https://okunomichi.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/1711/has been visited by many. This post is about Kau ka la ia ka lolo, the traditional term for the passage kau of the sun at the zenith over one’s head.

At the Windward Community College in Kaneohe, Hawaii, is a Polynesian voyaging display on permanent view. It is highly recommended for those interested in how the Polynesian people journeyed over vast distances with great navigational skill. You can view a scale model of the  Hōkūleʻa voyaging canoe and an introduction to Hawaiian astronomy. We thank Professor Joseph Ciotti for preparation of the exhibit and explaining it to us. Dr. Ciotti remarked that it was the eminent Hawaiian historian, Rubellite Kawena Johnson who provided him with the proper term for this celestial event. 

We show a photo we took of the Kau ka la ia ka lolo exhibit. The text reads as follows:

Twice a year the noontime sun passes directly overhead. Kau ka la ia ka lolo was believed to be a time of great mana. At this moment a person’s shadow (aka) disappeared and was thought to enter his sacred head. The two dates for these solar zenith passages are marked on the map for different places on O’ahu.


Dashed Spotlight and Lahaina Noon as Summer Solstice Indicators


Iwaya Rockbat published the May 21 dashed spotlight report for 2016, https://iwakage.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/dashed-spotlight-of-21-may-2016/

The appearance of this spotlight in the grotto of Senkoko-Ishi heralds the coming of summer solstice 31 days hence, in other words June 21, 2016 at Kanayama Megaliths. And 31 days after the solstice, July 23, the dashed spotlight will make its last appearance of the year. There are 62 days between the two dates, and the solstice is in the middle. Remember, between spring and autumn, the sun daily moves northward until the solstice and then moves southward, retracing is path. This dashed phenomenon only lasts for a few days each time.

Okunomichi has published two posts on Lahaina Noon, (1)2016-05-25 12.27 stopsignhttps://okunomichi.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/1711/  and (2) https://okunomichi.wordpress.com/2016/05/.

What is Lahaina Noon? It is the popular term used in the Hawaiian Islands for the two days per summer when the noontime sun is directly overhead any given spot in the Islands (Okunomichi link 1). On those two days, the zenith sun casts no shadow of thin vertical objects such as poles and stop signs (Okunomichi link 2). Those two dates in 2016 for four Hawaii cities are listed in the first of the two posts. For Honolulu, Oahu, the dates are May 26 and July 15; for Hilo, Hawaii, they are May 18 and July 24. On the Tropic of Cancer, there is only the one date of the summer solstice itself, June 20.

It occurred to Iwaya Rockbat that stop signs such as the one shown by Okunomichi can be used as indicators of summer solstice date, just as the dashed spotlight does. Using the dates given for Honolulu, May 26 and July 15, we counted the number of days between them and found there were 50 days. The middle date will occur 25 days after May 26. It will be June 20. It is exactly right for Honolulu!

For Hilo, the two dates are May 18 and July 24. The designated summer solstice date is June 20. Again, this is perfectly right!

So, what prevents us from using signposts in Hawaii to determine by observation the date of the summer solstice? The big issue is the accuracy of observation. The day before the photo was taken, Okunomichi had taken a similar photo of the same signpost. The shadow was close to non-existent. It was nearly the same. We conclude that this is not a very accurate way of determining the date of summer solstice. A place closer to the equator would be better, but how much better?

On the other hand, the megaliths of Senkoku allow a special beam of light to strike the side of stone A’ in the grotto. Most of the time, after clearing that side panel, the sunbeam lands on the floor of the grotto. Only on a few special days a year does it illuminate the “bumps” on the triangular face that the ancients had carved especially for this purpose. The arrival and end of the dashed spotlight is a delicate determinator of the summer solstice date.

We can marvel at the ingenuity of the ancient people who created with wonderful solar observatory using megaliths!