September october 2014 cover 2

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Solar eclipse over Pacific today will take small bite of Hawaii sun


total_solar_eclipse_Hawaii_sunThe longest total solar eclipse of the century will send the Sun’s shadow speeding across half the world today, beginning in northern India, moving across China, Nepal and Japan and finishing out in the Pacific Ocean.

Darkness will engulf Shanghai and several large cities in China and India for more than five minutes. At the eclipse’s peak, somewhere southwest of Japan near the Bonin Islands, the moon will block the sun completely for 6 minutes and 39 seconds—the longest duration of the entire eclipse.

What does any of this have to do with Hawaii?

We’ll get to experience a tiny part of the huge celestial event when the northernmost edge of the eclipse’s shadow moves over the Hawaiian Islands this afternoon creating a partial eclipse.

Look toward the sun in Hawaii today at about 5:20 p.m. and—if skies are cloud-free—you’ll see the moon take a small bite of about 10 percent of the sun.

It won’t get dark. If you forget you read this, you won’t even know its happening. And the entire experience here will be over in 55 minutes, at about 6:14 p.m.

total_solar_eclipse_Hawaii_sunBut for folks who couldn’t follow the thousands of eclipse chasers who flocked to India, Nepal and China this week for the best views, it’ll still be kind of cool.

Click here for Hawaii viewing instructions courtesy of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. It is unsafe to view a partial eclipse with the naked eye.

The last total solar eclipse visible in Hawaii happened on July 11, 1991, engulfing the entire Big Island of Hawaii in darkness for more than six minutes, and the remote east Maui towns of Kipahulu and Kaupo for slightly less.

Thousands of visitors inundated the Big Island for that one. But don’t rush to make your air and hotel reservations for Hawaii’s next total solar eclipse. It won’t occur until May 3, 2106.


Elipse path graphic: Author: A.T. Sinclair Source: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEcat/SEdecade2001.html
 


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