Oregon Coast This Weekend: Red Eclipse, Bright Planets, Whales
Published 09/26/2015 at 4:22 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – As above, so below – you could say. It's one heck of a show in the skies and on the ocean waters this weekend. In the skies above the Oregon coast (and Portland and the rest of the northwest), Sunday brings not just a Supermoon, but a Blood Moon and a full eclipse. Venus and Jupiter are also causing a stir, while whales of all sorts are – well – making a splash along the coastline.
Also, weather is delightfully warm on the coast this weekend, with highs around 75 and quite sunny.
It's currently a perfect storm for whale watching: with calm waters brought on by the coast's “Second Summer,” and warmer waters providing more food for the whales. The end result is copious whale sightings and close encounters, with rarely-seen Humpback whales going bonkers at Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Warrenton and even up the Columbia River, while central coast whale watch tours are reporting amazing moments.
The Humpbacks started showing up in mid-August, following lots of baitfish into the area. Some of the most dramatic shots came from Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium, showing them weaving in and out of the paths of boats on Astoria's waterfront.
She reports they've been seen daily, close in to Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock, at Manzanita, and along the Columbia.
Down on the central coast, in the Depoe Bay area, at least one whale watching tour has been reporting staggering numbers of close-up encounters with gray whales.
There is a triple treat coming for the nighttime skies on Sunday night, and it looks like the Oregon coast may even be better off for viewing than the Portland area. It's not only the Blood Moon (which happens every September), but the moon will actually get quite red – or at least very orange. It's a unique convergence of a Supermoon and a total eclipse that night, according to OMSI's Jim Todd.
“Known as the Harvest Moon or full moon nearest the September equinox. this full moon happens to be the closest super moon of 2015,” Todd said. “And there is a total eclipse of the moon on the same evening. A triple treat.”
A Supermoon happens when the Earth is at its closest to the Earth in its orbit. It will appear 14 percent bigger to the eye.
On top of it, there's that full eclipse, which will turn the moon a wild color. The totality of the eclipse begins at 7:11 p.m. with the point of the greatest eclipse occurring at 7:47 p.m.. The eclipse’s total phase will last for 72 minutes.
As if that wasn't enough, Todd said the two brightest objects in the sky right now have been initiating calls to OMSI. Venus is prominent in the eastern skies in the wee hours of the morning, shining at an eye-popping magnitude -4.8.
Meanwhile, Jupiter pops up about two hours before sunup, a little earlier than Venus. (Humpback whale photos below courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).
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