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Asteroid Flyby, Planets, Minus Tides: Look Up, Down on Oregon Coast

Published 03/04/2016 at 5:01 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Photo: stars and tides at Depoe Bay

(Oregon Coast) – March is a mixed bag of funky sights in the skies and on the shorelines of the Oregon coast. An asteroid with a possibly spooky future makes a close run, some bright planets make a show, and a few nice minus tides are coming to these beaches. (Photo: stars and tides at Depoe Bay).

NASA is saying a small asteroid will whiz by Earth on March 5 (tomorrow), possibly at a mere 11,000 miles – a whisker's width by astronomy standards. The asteroid, known as 2013 TX68, has a trajectory that is still full of unknowns by scientists. It could pass by as far as 9 million miles as well.

NASA said the object has only been tracked for a short time, so much is yet to be learned.

Scientists at NASA's Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are sure there is no chance it will hit the Earth this time around. But another flyby next year is another story.

“But they have identified an extremely remote chance that this small asteroid could impact on Sep. 28, 2017, with odds of no more than 1-in-250-million,” NASA said. “Flybys in 2046 and 2097 have an even lower probability of impact.”

Portland's OMSI astronomy expert Jim Todd said you won't be able to see the asteroid with smaller telescopes.

Venus will continue to be the brightest object in the sky, as it has been lately. Mars is decently visible as well as it moves from Libra to Scorpius, and it starts to get brighter after March 13. Those with good telescopes will be able to see some of the dark shapes of the Red Planet this month.

Jupiter will be visible all night on March 8, and has been mostly visible as of late. For those with good telescopes, Jupiter's inner three moons will be leaving shadows that sometimes double up on the planet.

A bit more down to Earth....

Lots of fairly large high tides are coming up in March along the Oregon coast, which you can count on to be even bigger on stormy days. Many of these are at around eight feet, with a few six feet or lower, here or there. But a few minus tides are coming up as well.

The first is March 8 at around 6 p.m., with one tide table clocking in at minus six inches. The next day, March 9, see another just after 6 p.m. at minus four inches. Another, about minus three inches happens just after 7 p.m. on March 10.

Most low tides of the month look to be around two feet or less, which will make for good agate hunting, safe beachcombing and great for clamming. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours







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