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 Diverse Brews To-Do's on Oregon Coast: of Science, of Chowder
Lincoln City's Chowder and Brewfest on October 8, Pacific City hosts a Science Pub on October 24. Lincoln City events, Pacific City events
Roughing It and Loving It: the Wilds of N. Oregon Coast's Nehalem Bay
A stretch of north Oregon coast so large it includes three towns.
Psychedelic Kites Dominate Skies at Central Oregon Coast Festival
October 1 and 2 marks the return of the Lincoln City Fall Kite Festival. Lincoln City events
Best Beaches of the Oregon Coast at Nighttime: Safest, Most Impressive
Finding a dark beach with no light interference on a clear eve will make for something wondrous
State Police Need Tips in Vandalism of Oregon Coast Landmark
OSP is still deep in the investigation into the vandalism atop Cape Kiwanda
Dead Oregon Coast Whale May Have Its Home on Beach Near Manzanita
It seems to have found a permanent home at Short Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park
Cajoling Gypsy Jazz, Django-Style, Comes to Central Oregon Coast
One exotic form of music this next week: a hefty dose of gypsy jazz, a la Django Reinhardt. Lincoln City events
Oregon Coast Hwy Latest: Should One Beach Access Change Its Name?
One development this week for the Newport area of the central Oregon coast

Back to Oregon Coast

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