Eclipse Expert to Speak at Science Cafe Tomorrow


There are only 989 days 11,220 days (!) until Hawaii sees its next solar eclipse. Fortunately, it’s not too late to prepare for Jan. 31, 2018 Feb. 5, 2046, and tomorrow brings a cozy talkstory presentation by Shadia Habbal, a Syrian-born astrophysicist who has studied the sun at the UH Institute for Astronomy since 2005.

Habbal is the founder of an unofficial, international group of scientists known as the “solar wind sherpas,” who travel around the world to experience and study eclipses. From India in 1995 to Norway just this past March, the team has logged six successful eclipse expeditions and will likely see a few more before a total solar eclipse finally comes to our neighborhood in 2018.

While solar eclipses are technically no less common than lunar eclipses (next up, Jan. 31, 2018), their paths across the surface of the Earth are narrow, making them seemingly harder to catch. Hawaii experienced a total lunar eclipse just last month. The islands had a partial solar eclipse in 2013 (and will see another one next March), but we haven’t seen a total eclipse since 1991 (which I only vaguely remember from my junior year in high school).

Fortunately, we’ll be able to hear first-hand stories of both the science and experience of several total solar eclipses from Habbal. She both teaches and serves as the faculty chair at the Institute for Astronomy, has over 100 publications in refereed journals to her name, and has served on a number of advisory panels for NASA as well as in the United Kingdom. She also helped organize the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society and serves as its chair.

Habbal is this month’s featured speaker at Honolulu Science Cafe, “for people who enjoy talking about science with a glass or a fork in their hand.” Now in its seventh year, HSC is part of a national and international movement of casual science gatherings.

The group will meet tomorrow, Tuesday, May 19, at JJ French Pastry & Bistro (3447 Waialae Avenue) in Kaimuki. As always, dinner and talkstory starts at 6 p.m., and Habbal’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. Although the event is free, attendees are encouraged to patronize the hosting establishment for food or drink.

For more information on Honolulu Science Cafe, visit the official website at or contact organizer Gareth Wynn-Williams via e-mail.

Updated note that the next solar eclipse is in 2048, not 2018, as noted in comments. Photo courtesy Erik Drost on Flickr (Creative Commons).

3 Responses

  1. I think you mean total lunar eclipse? Your link leads to information on the Jan 18 total lunar eclipse. Waiting for the next total solar eclipse in the islands? Wait a little longer. We get an annular solar eclipse in 2046 and no actual total eclipse in our lifetimes. The next good total that you might be able to see? In 2017 a total solar eclipse will cross the Pacific coast around the Oregon-Washington border and sweep into the Midwest.

  2. Mike Swanson says:

    Was about to ask about this but Andrew beat me to it.

  3. Ryan Ozawa says:

    D’oh! Thanks, Andrew. Updated!

Discover more from Hawaii Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading