Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Rare Moon Coincidence on Summer Solstice Coming to Portland, Oregon, the Coast

Published 06/15/2016 at 8:01 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Summer solstice is coming to the wreck of the Peter Iredale

(Oregon Coast) – It will be the longest day of the year and when summer officially begins. But for those on the Oregon coast, it will mean an even later end to the day than places like Portland or Salem, and there will be a special, rare lunar event coinciding with it all. (Photo: Summer solstice is coming to the wreck of the Peter Iredale.)

June 20 brings the summer solstice to the northern hemisphere, along with a full moon happening that night. This is a rare occurrence: the moon has been full on a summer solstice only twice in the last 70 years.

3:34 p.m. ushers in summer on June 20 for Portland, inland Oregon and its coastline, according to astronomy expert Jim Todd, of Portland's OMSI. You get not only more minutes of sun, but it's the official turn of a season.

Todd added another fun science fact: the Earth will be at its farthest distance from the sun, called aphelion, on July 5.

Todd said the word “solstice” is derived from the Latin sol-stitium, for sun-standing.

“The summer solstice is the time of the year when the sun stops its northern climb and stands briefly before turning back toward the equator,” he said. “As seen from Portland, the sun will reach its highest northern point in the sky at 67.54 degrees from the horizon on June 20 and 21 at approximately 1:12 p.m. From March 21 until September 24, there are more hours of daylight than darkness. After June 21, the days will gradually grow shorter until December 21, the winter solstice.”

A curious fact for those on the Oregon coast that summer solstice day: the sun actually goes down a few minutes later there than in Portland. Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff measured the difference at seven minutes. Since sundown times are listed with a flat horizon in mind, places like Portland will see the actual sunset a few minutes earlier than is listed in the almanacs because of high spots like the west hills or the coast range.

On the beaches, it's even later than that, however.

Not everybody is celebrating, however. Todd said that far to the south of Oregon, across the equator, winter has arrived. For people in the southern hemisphere, June 20th, will be the shortest day of the year. It also means the beginning of their winter.

With that lunar rarity happening on the same night, there's more to see after dark. A full moon only occurs on the same night as a solstice about once every 15 years. The last time this occurred was in 1986 and 1948.

Todd said that full moon will reach its highest point this month, due south. Despite being at its highest in the sky, viewers in Portland (1:06 a.m. on June 20 or 1:57 a.m. on June 21) may struggle to see it, as it is very low 25 degrees in the sky. In fact the full moon nearest the summer solstice (June 20 or 21) is the lowest full moon of the year.

“Plus, notice the champagne color as it rises from the east,” Todd said.

The reason for this, Todd said, is that during the summer months, the moon tends to sit low on the horizon. This makes it farther away from you than when it's directly overhead, forcing the light to travel through more atmosphere. This breaks down the color bands within the light, causing them to bend and get tossed out – mainly the blues, greens and purples. Todd said the strong light waves that do make it are red, yellow and orange, the colors with the longest wavelengths.

It gets even more intriguing, in the astronomical sense. Todd said that since full moons occur when the moon is directly opposite the sun, you can imagine the two as sitting on either sides of a celestial see-saw: on the day when the sun is highest in the middle of the day (in summer), the moon is at its lowest high point at midnight; and on the day when the sun is at its lowest high point in the middle of the day (in winter), the moon is at its highest high point at midnight. The highest for December is when the moon will be more than 68 degrees above the southern horizon. Compare this to June when the moon barely grazes 25 degrees above the southern horizon. Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, 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

 


 


Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Lincoln City Mysteries: Five Stunning Oregon Coast Spots You Don't Know
You may make some startling discoveries at the northern edge of Lincoln City and just north of it. Travel tips, kids, Pacific City, Grace Hammond, Road's End
Rescued Sea Turtle, Famed Otter at Oregon Coast Aquarium Die This Week
A longtime fixture and attraction dies as does one of the sea turtles it helped rescue recently. Seaside Aquarium, Newport
Central Oregon Coast's Yachats and Florence in December, January
Music, food, the holidays, a good helping of whales and even a festival of gems and minerals. Yachas events
Lincoln City's Holidays and Frivolities: December Highlights for Central Oreg...
Making plenty of waves in December: Lincoln City events
Sunny and Mostly Windless, Warm Oregon Coast - Maybe Ten Days
If you don't like the beaches warmer and less windy than the valley, then you should stay home
Oregon Coast a Series of Creature Features as of Late
Pyrosomes, baby velella, two sea turtles, lots of bull kelp and a shipwreck. Sciences, history
Japanese Fishing Boat Washes Up on N. Oregon Coast, near Cannon Beach
The 38-foot vessel came up on the beach on December 2. Seaside Aquarium
Second Sea Turtle Rescued from Oregon Coast Beaches
Seaside Aquarium snagged a juvenile green sea turtle off a beach along the Columbia River. Science

Back to Oregon Coast

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