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Geminid Meteor Showers Above Oregon / Washington Coast. But Can You See It?

Published 12/12/21 at 6:02 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Geminid Meteor Showers Above Oregon / Washington Coast. But Can You See It?

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(Long Beach, Washington) – A wildly engaging sight will be flaring in the skies above the Oregon coast and Washington coast overnight on December 13 and 14. But the problem will be the clouds. Either way, the Geminid meteor showers will be raging overhead with their peak on Monday night into Tuesday morning, and the possibility of seeing as many as 60 to 120 meteors per hour. (Photo courtesy NASA)

Some spots east of the coastline may be hosting some breaks in the clouds, so those on the eastern ends of Oregon and Washington might get to see a few, though chances are slim as the forecasts across the northwest look towards rain or snow at night in most places.

Yet this may not be a total loss, as another meteor shower will overlap with this one and then peak later in the month.

According to Jim Todd, astronomy expert at Portland's OMSI, it's Monday night and early Tuesday morning that will be the peak for those trying to check it out on the Oregon coast or Washington coast – or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. It's the one meteor shower that can produce sparkling results before midnight, maybe starting as early as 10 p.m.

However, astronomers around the world say the best time will generally be in the hours just before dawn because of the moon.

The Geminids are one of the more spectacular meteor showers of the year, producing shooting stars that are bright and intensely colored. However, the moon in the early evenings will be interfering with the sight, but it will set later.

Todd said the Geminids are from pieces of the 3200 Phaethon asteroid, which has an unusual orbit that resembles that of a comet. Thus it's often referred to as a “rock comet.” NASA's STEREO spacecraft examined its dust tail a decade ago, and from the data scientists think there may be a muddy dry lake bed on the chunk of rock that emits some of the particles when it is heated by close encounters with the sun.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

The weather forecast for the Washington coast and Oregon coast is for rain overnight on Monday into Tuesday morning, although some areas inland are showing some amount of clearing overnight. If you're in spots like Westport, Washington, Coos Bay, Yachats or Seaside, it may well be worth your time to poke your head out every once in a while and see if there is any clearing in the night sky. Even rainy nights on the coast are notorious for breaking up now and then.

Keep your hopes up, however, as the Geminids last through December 17. The very last meteor shower of the year is the Ursids, which will be visible from December 13 through 26, and it reaches its peak on December 21.

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Photos above are of star movement on the Oregon coast

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