Lahaina or lā hainā means 'cruel sun' in the Hawaiian language. It is an unusual phenomenon when the sun passes exactly overhead; therefore vertical objects cast no shadows.
It can be explained by the tropical geographical position of Hawaii and occurs in different locations throughout the islands at midday, around 12 o'clock. Lahaina Noon takes place twice a year, in late May and mid-July, before and after the summer solstice, but exact dates vary annually. Moreover, dates differ on the islands, more southerly ones experiencing Lahaina noon earlier in May and later on July, and more northerly ones—closer to the summer solstice.
You might encounter some Lahaina Noon events in the area. For example, in some schools, teachers show the school kids how the shadows of all vertical objects disappear. Isn't it fun?
One of the most popular spots for observing Lahaina Noon in Honolulu is the Sky Gate sculpture by the world-renowned landscape architect Isamu Noguchi. Here, the phenomenon usually occurs on May 26 and July 15.
When does Lahaina Noon occur in Hawaii?
Twice yearly, Hawaii experiences Lahaina Noon, right after, or before the summer solstice. Lahaina Noon dates differ each year and from island to island. Southern areas like Maui observe it in May. In contrast, northern areas usually experience it in July, near the solstice. Check the solar position charts and local event schedules to stay abreast of the exact dates of Lahaina Noon. Show more
Where is the best spot to observe Lahaina Noon in Honolulu?
Located downtown, the Sky Gate sculpture by Isamu Noguchi is the top Honolulu spot to view Lahaina Noon. The sculpture symbolizes the island's entrance. When it is midday, objects are vertical, the sun does not cast shadows, and there is a stunning sight of the skyline and surrounding mountains from the sculpture. Show more
What does the term Lahaina mean in Hawaiian?
Lahaina is a word in the Hawaiian language meaning 'cruel sun'. The words lā and hainā make the phrase, meaning 'sun' and 'cruel' respectively. Lahaina Noon gets its title, for during this time, the sun reaches its uppermost point in Hawaii, creating no shadows. Its location in the tropics makes Hawaii peculiar and produces this short-term solar event. Show more
How many times a year does Lahaina Noon occur in Hawaii?
Each year, Hawaii undergoes Lahaina Noon twice around late May and mid-July before and after the summer solstice. The precise dates differ each year. During this brief time, lasting just a few minutes, objects are shadow-less, blending with the ground, creating an illusion. Show more
What are some tips to avoid sunburn during Lahaina Noon?
To avoid overexposure of the skin to the sun's harmful rays during Lahaina Noon, it is crucial to take necessary precautions. Individuals must limit their time outdoors during midday hours. If one must, wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses is crucial to protect the face and eyes. Use high-SPF sunscreen and wear long-sleeved clothing to prevent sunburn or heatstroke, which may occur during this time. Show more