Today Zenith Noon Observed at Haleakalā

July 18, 2016, 1:48 PM HST · Updated July 18, 1:51 PM
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Sunny Day. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Sunny Day. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Haleakalā National Park observes Lolopua today, one of two days commonly known as zenith noon.

It is recognized as one of several commercial-free days at the park under the park’s Commercial Services Plan. The days are designated as such to allow Kanaka Maoli opportunities to conduct traditional practices in the park without commercial tours present.

Although no commercial tours are allowed today (July 18), the park remains open to all visitors and regular entrance fees apply.

In determining all the commercial-free dates, park officials sought input from Native Hawaiian staff, community members, the Bishop Museum, and the park’s kūpuna group.

Future commercial-free dates will be:
Start of Makahiki – 1st rites begin on kapu period of Hua (Oct. 11, 2016)
Winter solstice (Dec. 21, 2016)
End of Makahiki – after kapu period of Hua (Jan. 10, 2017)
Summer solstice (June 21, 2017)

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“We really hope the community will take advantage of these commercial-free days to come to their park,” said Superintendent Natalie Gates. “We are also looking for ways to improve the experience if possible,” she added.

According to the Bishop Museum J Watumull Planetarium, the Zenith Noon event also known as “Lahaina Noon” returns this month at various locations in Hawaiʻi. It signifies a phenomenon when the sun is observed exactly overhead, and “upright objects such as a flag pole will have no shadow.”

“The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees north of the equator, and north of all of the main Hawaiian Islands) on June 21. Then, in Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, overhead sun occurs on July 11, at 12:42 p.m. Further south, on the Island of Hawai‘i, the overhead sun date does not occur till July 24 (12:26 p.m. for Hilo, 12:30 p.m. for Kailua Kona),” the site states.

The chart below gives the overhead sun dates for a number of locations in the islands, according to the J Watumull Planetarium.

2016 Lahaina Noon Days and Times

LīhueJuly 11 12:42 p.m.
Kāne‘oheJuly 15 12:37 p.m.
HonoluluJuly 15 12:37 p.m.
KaunakakaiJuly 16 12:34 p.m.
Lāna‘i CityJuly 18 12:34 p.m.
LahainaJuly 18 12:33 p.m.
KahuluiJuly 18 12:32 p.m.
HānaJuly 18 12:30 p.m.
HiloJuly 24 12:27 p.m.
Kailua-KonaJuly 24 12:30 p.m.

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