Quadrantids Meteor Shower to Grace Skies of Oregon, Coast Tonight
(Portland, Oregon) – The wee hours of Wednesday morning, a ways past midnight, may yield some stellar sights in the skies above Portland, Eugene, the valley and the Oregon coast. The Quadrantids meteor showers will peak tonight, zipping around the northeastern horizon (above: wild star movement near Depoe Bay and Newport, at Cape Foulweather).
Jim Todd, planetarium manager of Portland's OMSI, said they are best viewed from North America, and that the moon should disappear around 3 a.m., leaving a few hours of better viewing.
Cannon Beach: Ecola State Park at night.
“According to the American Meteor Society, the maximum rate for this shower is difficult to predict,” Todd said. “Most observers can expect to see a maximum of 40 Quadrantids per hour on the morning of January 4th. If you are fortunate, that rate could be higher. Any Quadrantid activity will be in the form long trails as they graze the upper atmosphere from the northeastern horizon.”
Weather reports are predicting the skies to clear later tonight throughout most of the state, although this may get interrupted – at least on the Oregon coast – as Wednesday some major winds are expected to pick up.
Todd said the Quadrantids were named for the former constellation Quadrans Muralis (Murals Quadrant), which once occupied the area of northern Bootes.
“It is thought that this shower is related to the recently discovered asteroid 2003 EH1,” Todd said. “This object is most likely an extinct comet nucleus that appears to be the remnant of a larger object that broke up about 500 years ago.”
Todd suggests to dress warmly and get as wide a view of the sky as possible.
“You may not see any meteors for some time, but be patient as they often move very fast and are gone before you can turn your eyes on them,” Todd said. “It is important to try to observe on this particular date, as the next night will be too late.”
Weather reports for north coast towns like Cannon Beach, Astoria and Manzanita seem to indicate clear conditions tonight. Central Oregon coast towns like Newport, Lincoln City or Yachats may not have it so clear, however.
Some TV weathermen are predicting the view will be obscured, however. See Oregon Coast weather.
Lincoln City at night
Newport at night - the lighthouse is in the distance.
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