Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Question About Oregon Sighting: Meteor or Iridium Flare

Published 10/27/2012


By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

(Manzanita, Oregon) – A little over a month ago, Oregon Coast Beach Connection snapped a pic of what appeared to be a shooting star above the north coast town of Manzanita. Checking in with astronomy expert Jim Todd from OMSI, the initial verdict was that it likely was.

Now, it actually may be something rarer.

The photograph was taken late at night on this north Oregon coast beach, with the Big Dipper floating above the moving object. Todd's first reaction was that the white streak was likely a meteor from a set of meteor showers happening that month.

“It does look like you have a shooting star or meteor from the September Perseid,” Todd said at the time.


But soon after he said it may instead be an iridium flare – the extended gleam of a satellite's metallic surface as it catches the sun. (Above: the Big Dipper is just above the streak).

This phenomenon is also known as a “satellite glint.” According to Wkipedia, it is “the phenomenon caused by the reflective surfaces on satellites (such as antennas or solar panels) reflecting sunlight directly onto the Earth below and appearing as a brief, bright flare.' “

Certain kinds of communication satellites have a distinctive shape and there polished antennas. Periodically, one of these antenna reflect sunlight back down to the Earth, creating a flare that lasts a few seconds.

There are actually many websites that can predict these. Although they are predictable, they are rarer than actual meteors sightings.

Case in point: while Oregon Coast Beach Connection was photographing this nocturnal beach scene, several shooting stars were seen. These were apparently part of the Leonid showers Todd talked about, although it was a few days from the peak. This particular incident came from a 47-second test shot, and it wasn't seen with the naked eye. Staff only saw this particular phenomenon when viewing the photo after it was downloaded onto the computer.

Considering the almost cylindrical shape of this streak, and when comparing it to other iridium flare photographs, this does seem likely it's a flare rather than a meteor. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

More photos from Manzanita, and Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach lodging below.






More About Manzanita, Rockaway, Wheeler Lodging.....

More About Manzanita, Rockaway, Wheeler Dining.....

 

A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss
Pacific City, Oregon

 


 

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Two Youths Rescued from Seaside's Surf, N. Oregon Coast; One Dead
Two teenage males were rescued from the surf on the north Oregon coast Thursday. Beach safety
Wild 'n Wacky on Oregon Coast: Freaky Facts, Fossils, Rumors
Fossil finds, bizarre plants, broken records to a curious if not laughable claim about a battle off these beaches. History, science
Workshop Prepares for Stunning Solar Eclipse on Central Oregon Coast in 2017
A group called Multiverse hosts an educational workshop on the total solar eclipse in Lincoln City
Forests, Bunkers and Bears, Oh My: Three Oregon Coast Hiking Hotspots
Or, hit the promontories and forest lands behind the beaches for some truly exhilarating exchanges with nature
Just What is Cape Kiwanda on Oregon's Coast? And Why It's Falling Apart
The curious geology of an Oregon landmark at Pacific City, what's been protecting it, and why it's disappearing more quickly now. Science
What Really Happened with the Crashed B-17 Bomber on N. Oregon Coast
One of the more spectacular bits of Oregon World War II history lays shrouded in the mists (and the dense trees) of Cape Lookout. Oceanside, history
What's Different About Summer Tide Pools on Oregon Coast; Including a Mystery
In a lot of ways, it is indeed tide pool season on the Oregon coast - but a different kind. Science, kids, Seaside Aquarium
Engage with Moths at North Oregon Coast Celebrations, Even at Night
Take a wild moth odyssey on the north Oregon coast as part of National Moth Week. Manzanita events

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted