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Supermoon Above Portland, Oregon, the Coast Sunday Night

Published 12/02/2017 at 4:35 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Supermoon Above Portland, Oregon, the Coast Sunday Night

(Oregon Coast) – There's a lot going on in the skies tomorrow night (Sunday) above Oregon – including Portland, Eugene, Bend and the coast. It's not only a full moon but a supermoon, but on top of all that gooey interstellar fun is the fact it's the highest full moon of the year and what is called the Frost Moon. (Above: moon at Hug Point, near Cannon Beach).

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It's the only supermoon of all of 2017. But wait, there's more: literally two more are coming right behind it to start off 2018.

Will the inland state and the Oregon coast get to see this? At least a little bit, according to weather reports. Sunday night for the coastline and Portland area is predicted to be mostly cloudy with some rain, but likely some breaks to catch the gigantic show.

The definition of a supermoon is any new moon or full moon coming closer than 224,936 miles to Earth. In fact, this one clocks in at 222,443 miles to our homeworld. It will likely look bigger to you, but this sometimes depends on the viewer.

This supermoon is the first of three full moon supermoons that will take over the skies – the second two both happening in January. So not only will they be in close succession but they'll be part of a blue moon cycle, meaning two full moons within a month are considered a blue moon.

January 2 and January 31 are the dates for the next two. The post-New Year's Day supermoon on January 2 also closely coincides with lunar perigee (the point in the month where the moon is closest to the Earth). This will make it the largest of the three.

According to Jim Todd of Portland's OMSI, December's full moon is called the Frost Moon, and since it's the closest to the winter solstice it is the highest full moon of the whole year.

“The moon will be above the famous winter constellation of Orion, the Hunter,” Todd said. “With a little imagination, the constellation could appear as a jolly Santa. At 12:46 a.m., the moon will be 63.7 degrees above the southern horizon, its highest altitude for the year. Less than a day later, Luna will make its closest approach to Earth.”


Todd said the moon will appear about seven percent larger and 16 percent brighter than usual.

The best places to look for it on the Oregon coast are any beach or viewpoint – simply for the pure atmosphere of it. High vantage spots like Cape Foulweather near Depoe Bay or the Neahkahnie Overlooks at Manzanita provide dramatic reflections on the water along with the massive vistas.

If you do head out on the beach at night, carry a flashlight to keep an eye on the tides.

“The Sun is at its lowest due south around noon on the Winter Solstice (December 21) and at its highest due south around noon on the Summer Solstice (June 21),” Todd said. “The highest full Moon for December is when the Moon will be over 68 degrees above the southern horizon, approximately the height of the midsummer mid-day Sun which culminates at 68 degrees.” Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

Todd added that summer full moons are always low on the horizon (which can make them more dramatic), while winter full moons are very high overhead. See Oregon Coast Weather. More moon moments from the Oregon coast below:

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