“On that day, says the Lord God,
I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.”
Said to refer to the solar eclipse of June 15, 763 BC.
From: Amos, Chapter 8, verse 9 (Old Testament)
An eclipse is the obscuring of light from one heavenly body by another. When the moon blocks the sun we have a solar eclipse; when it goes into the earth’s shadow we have a lunar eclipse. Solar and lunar eclipses occur with about the same frequency, about twice a year.
Everyone on the darkened side of earth can see a lunar eclipse because the earth casts a large shadow. In a solar eclipse, however, the moon’s shadow is only a few miles in diameter, and only a relatively few observers are in the path of totality.
Solar eclipses are of three kinds. In a total eclipse the moon completely covers the sun, revealing solar streamers and coronal flashes. For a thousand miles or more on either side of the path of totality is a region of partial eclipses where the moon takes a bite out of the sun without swallowing it.
And in an annular eclipse the moon appears smaller than the sun because its elliptical orbit takes it farther from the earth. Then it is too far to completely cover the sun, so the moon is ringed with a thin rim of sunlight. (Kyselka)
Hawai‘i averages an eclipse a decade. Using a figure of 10 per century, that’s about 100 in Hawai’i in its approximate 1,000 years of human habitation.
Thirty-two ‘notable’ solar eclipses (when the moon covers at least half the sun) have occurred in Hawai’i in the last 300 years
Adding Easter Island, New Zealand Tonga, and Tahiti to that figure, and extending time back 3,000 years to the arrival of the first settlers, we find that 1,500 solar eclipses have taken place in Polynesia over the last 30 centuries. (Kyselka)
“I had announced to the people that there would be an eclipse of the sun at mid-day on the 26th of June (1824), at fifty-seven minutes after twelve o’clock, and gave a brief account of its extent and duration, with which the event accorded.”
“During its progress, this phenomenon, which they had been accustomed to regard with superstitious awe and forebodings of evil, I endeavored to explain as the mere passing of the moon between us and the sun, so as to throw a shadow upon us for a time.” (Hiram Bingham)
“The old time Hawaiians viewed eclipses of the sun and moon with astonishment and great fear, believing them to be a token of the displeasure of their gods; and hence presaging the death of a high chief or some other public calamity.” (Baldwin; Keyselka)
“The people asked (Bingham) what event it was a sign of, and he told them it was not a sign of anything about to happen, according to the ideas of his country, but an occurrence when happened naturally from time to time and was not everywhere visible at the same time.”
“They told him that it was the Hawaiian belief that this was a sign from God foretelling some great event like war, the overthrow of the government, the death of a ruling chief, and that they believed war was imminent.” (Kamakau)
“Some, supposing me to be able perhaps to take the place of their old astrologers, demanded of me the ‘ano’, purport of the wonder, or to tell the event indicated by it.”
“But I could not, from that phenomenon, predict either war or peace, famine or plenty, death or prosperity, as their pretending astrologers had been accustomed to do.”
“Some, however, prognosticated war, and this was thought by others to be an indication that war was desired, or was already meditated.”
“The gloom of the moon’s shadow on the islands corresponded with the political gloom that then hung over Kauai, while many of the inhabitants lived in apprehension of evils, against which they had no competent protection.”
“Some feared oppression from the windward chiefs, should their control be undisputed. Others feared oppression or destruction from Kauai chiefs, now divided into parties.”
“Some, decidedly favoring the new order, provoked the envy and hostility of those who disliked to yield to windward supremacy. The want of integrity, and of the means of intelligence and intercommunication, magnified the difficulty; and distrust, disaffection, and danger, seemed to envelope the island in clouds.” (Hiram Bingham)
Hawai‘i has had two total eclipses in the last 300 years, one in 1850 and another in 1991. The next total will occur at 5:49 on the morning of May 3, 2106. South Point will be at the edge of totality, so for best viewing, travel 60 miles farther southward to be in the path of centrality. (Kyselka)
A total solar eclipse is coming to the US on August 21, 2017 – in the Islands, folks will be able to see two different types of eclipse phenomenon.
A couple weeks earlier (starting at 5:50 am, August 7, 2017), in the Islands, there will be a partial lunar eclipse (Earth’s shadow darkening about 25% of the setting Moon).
Then, again at sunrise (5:50 am, August 21, 2017), while folks across a swath on the continent will see a full solar eclipse, in the Islands, a partial solar eclipse will start – with maximum coverage (about 27%) at 6:35 am.
Do not look directly at the sun. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.