Solar Eclipse in Hawaii
July 11, 1991

This the solar eclipse viewed and photographed by Ed Hedemann
in the Waikoloa region on the Big Island of Hawaii.

To view this unusually long solar eclipse for its maximum duration (almost 7 minutes), the place to be was in Baja California or nearby Pacific coast of Mexico. However, I had relatives all over the Big Island of Hawaii. Consequently, that was an opportunity too good to pass up.

For the three mornings in a row preceeding July 11, I scouted out a site (right) in the desert region of Waikoloa—a prime area because totality would be the longest in Hawaii (aside from the observatories atop the restricted Mauna Kea) and the chances for a clear sky were high. Each morning was clear . . . until eclipse morning.

eclipse_sign.JPG (32561 bytes)
As with most modern eclipses, the pre-eclipse hoopla was enormous, though most of it is confined to media articles, public safety messages, and the like. However, for this eclipse, virtually every ad in every newspaper featured eclipse-this or eclipse-that copy. Note the example below.
eclipse-haircuts.JPG (59316 bytes) totality_cut.JPG (23222 bytes)


First contact (when the moon takes its first bite out of the sun) began at 6:30 am and the onset of the 4-minute totality was at 7:28 am, but there were troublesome clouds everywhere. Rather than risk getting stuck in a eclipse-fever induced traffic jam on the narrow road circling the island to the drier Kona side, we decided to stick it out. That was an unfortunate mistake.
Hawaii_observers1.JPG (43019 bytes)
Cheryl, Cy, and Paul, some of my Hawaiian relatives, view the partial phases early in the morning through solar filters—almost unnecessary due to the heavy cloud cover. My main eclipse photographing gear is on the right.


Clouds partially obscure crescent near totality (below). Photo is taken with a solar filter. Clouds almost wipe out observation of “diamond ring” effect (below). Image of sun is blurred because of the unusually long exposure needed to compensate for lack of visibility.
cloudy_crescent.JPG (2895 bytes) clouds.JPG (5491 bytes)


Using a 500mm mirror lens attached to a 35mm SLR—and no filter—the two photos below are the best that I could get during an extremely frustrating totality. Note the two prominences on the top and the bottom of the sun. There is some blur because of the very slow film I used (Kodak Ektar 25) and because the camera was not mounted on a motorized tracking device to compensate for the Earth’s rotation. This last problem was accentuated by the unexpectedly long exposures needed in order to shoot through the clouds.
Hawaii-totality.JPG (8833 bytes) Hawaii-totality1.JPG (11419 bytes)



Post-mortems below:

Honolulu_Adv.JPG (60446 bytes) HawaiiT-H.jpg (54324 bytes)

Eclipses of the 1990s

Hedemann & Benn homepage