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Fall Equinox Brings Shorter Days to Oregon Coast, Maybe Moon Display

Published 09/20/2017 at 4:47 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Fall Equinox Brings Shorter Days to Oregon Coast, Maybe Moon Display

(Oregon Coast) – The autumnal equinox happens this Friday (September 22), right at 1:02 p.m. in Oregon and on the Oregon coast. Meanwhile, the moon may do some some awesome things above the waves of the Pacific ocean, and Saturn will be popping up. (Above: the moon may be shining low on the ocean for awhile in late September).

Jim Todd, astronomy expert at Portland's OMSI, said this means fall officially begins in this state.

“At that point the Sun is directly above the Earth’s equator, and the significance of this is that every point on Earth will, for one day, experience nearly 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of daylight,” Todd said. “The Sun rises due east and sets due west on the equinox.”

This autumnal equinox is the opposite of the vernal (or spring) equinox, which happens March 21. Todd said it's all because of the Earth's orbit around the sun.

“The axis of this orbit is inclined at an angle of 23.5 degrees,” he said. “So at the winter solstice the sun is 23.5 degrees south over the Tropic of Capricorn.”

After this date begins the ever-increasing plod towards shorter winter days. From here on out, there will be more and more dark than daylight hours until the region reaches late December.

Not that you can see it this week, but if you could, there's a new moon happening above the Oregon coast. Space.com said on September 20 the moon is invisible to us as sunlight is only hitting the other side of the moon, the one facing away. In a day or two you'll start to see the sliver of the waxing crescent moon setting low on the horizon to the west, not long after sunset.

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That means if the clouds open up and you can glimpse the moon, it could be casting a very cool light onto the surface of the ocean.

Better weather is in store for the Oregon coast and inland after Monday, which will help you spot these awesome objects of the sky.

Moonset quickly gets later and later, with the moon hitting horizon about midnight by September 27, a long time from the 8:44 or so when it set on September 22.

By the 26th we have a quarter moon, which will then become full in early October. Worthy of note: the term “quarter moon” refers not to its shape (it's actually about half of a moon), but to the fact it just completed the first quarter of its orbit around Earth since the new moon. Where to stay for this - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

Also this Friday: Jupiter will be seen near the moon.

On September 26, according to Space.com, Saturn gets a bit yellow and is only three degrees to the lower left of the moon. More Oregon Coast Science. - See more Oregon coast astronomy photos below:








 

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