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Check Out Those Meteor Showers on Washington / Oregon Coast: Orionids Peak Soon

Published 10/19/23 at 12:32 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Check Out Those Meteor Showers on Washington / Oregon Coast: Orionids Peak Soon

(Astoria, Oregon) – Unearthly streaks of light in the skies should be ramping up right about now, so keep your eyes peeled upwards if you're on the Oregon coast or Washington coast – or really anywhere, for that matter. (Above: star movement and the moon in a long exposure at Manzanita - Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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The Orionids meteor shower will be peaking this weekend, with as many as 10 to 20 little balls of light per hour. The peak technically happens after midnight on Saturday morning, the 21st of October. The following night of the 22nd will also be your interstellar jam, but the hours around midnight and just after on the morning of the 22nd will be even better.

When skies are clear right about now (fall), they are exceptionally clear, with major twinkling above – something that's especially gorgeous along the coasts of Washington and Oregon. Lucky for all of us, it's the first quarter of the moon, so it will not be interfering with our views of the meteor showers.

The Orionids come from the tail of Halley’s Comet, the same dust and debris that also creates the Eta Aquarid meteor showers in the spring.

According to NASA, meteor showers tend to come in bursts and there will often be lulls where nothing happens. These ones are faster than many, screaming through at 40 miles per second. They're not extremely bright, according to, but they have something else that's eye-catching.

“The meteors in this shower are on the faint side,” said “But they make up for their faintness by leaving trains, or ionized gas trails, that last for a few seconds after the meteor itself has gone. Maybe half of the Orionid meteors leave persistent trains.”

While the peaks happen soon, the whole meteor shower started in late September and runs until November 22. Oregon Coast Beach Connection saw a few of these dazzlers recently in the Portland area, back in early October.

How to see the meteor showers on Washington's coast or the Oregon coast?

Your first consideration should be getting out of the interference of light. Both coastlines will be perfect for this, with just about every beach hidden from most major light sources. Some of the best spots can be the high viewpoints, simply because of the dramatic views paired with the sky show. These include the Neahkahnie overlooks by Manzanita, Cape Foulweather near Depoe Bay, Cape Arago near Coos Bay, Bandon, the pullouts just south of Yachats or Humbug Mountain, or Silver Point near Cannon Beach. Flat beaches like darker areas of Lincoln City or Washington's Westport or Long Beach will be pure gold as well.

For Portlanders, heading into the coast range or the countrysides of Clackamas or Washington counties will be prime as well.

They radiate from about the constellation of Orion, but look all over the sky.

Also see Interstellar Objects Above Oregon Coast / Washington Coast Only Cameras Can See: Emissions Nebulae

Halley's Comet is a ball of ice and rock that is left over from the formation of our solar system, only seen once every 75 years. The last time Earthlings saw it was 1986, and it's not due to return until 2061.

As it continues zipping around our solar system, it leaves behind a dusty trail. When the comet swings close to the sun on its orbit-like path, the sun heats its icy surface, which then releases particles of not just ice but dust as well. When the Earth's orbit wanders into that debris field, they start hitting the atmosphere and burn up as fiery little streaks of light.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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