Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

A Little Halloween Astronomy for Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

Published 10/27/22 at 6:23 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

A Little Halloween Astronomy for Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

(Manzanita, Oregon) – It turns out there's more to Halloween than some spooky holiday-turned-commercial. There's a bit of science of the skies at work above the Oregon coast and Washington coast – something significant in astronomy. (Above: Neahkahnie Mountain at night, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Halloween happens on Monday, October 31, a day of ancient importance to at least one culture thousands of years old. But there's a technical reason for that.

“It is short for All Hallows’ Eve and is an astronomical event,” said Jim Todd, astronomy expert for Portland's OMSI. “It is the modern-day descendant of Samhain, a sacred festival of the ancient Celts and Druids in the British Isles. But it’s also a cross-quarter day, which is why Samhain occurred when it did. A cross-quarter day is a day midway between an equinox and a solstice.”

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

It's a tradition that's almost as old as the British Isles, but this factoid goes back billions of years. That holiday occurs at the approximate midway point between the autumn and winter solstice. Yet it's only been fixed by tradition, Todd said. The true cross-quarter day comes on November 7, which creates a discrepancy of about one week.

“According to the ancient Celts, a cross-quarter day marks the beginning, not the middle, of a season,” Todd said.

Every year, the Oregon coast and Washington coast (as well as the rest of the globe) go through eight major subdivisions of each season. March and September each have equinoxes, June and December contain solstices, and there's the intervening four cross-quarter days.

“The four cross-quarter days are often called Groundhog Day (February 2), May Day (May 1), Lammas (August 1), and Halloween (October 31),” Todd said.

Of those cross-quarter days, Halloween is the spookiest, something that may have come about because this is when days begin to get substantially shorter.

“On Halloween, it’s said that the spirits of the dead wander from sunset until midnight,” Todd said. “After midnight on November 1, which we now call All Saints’ Day, the ghosts are said to go back to rest.”

In other, more tangible astronomy, if the skies get clearer along the Oregon coast or Washington coast, you could glimpse the annual Leonid meteor shower that peaks on November 17. It runs from November 6 through 30, but there is a full moon right around the peak, which will dampen the shooting stars' visibility.

Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Gold Beach: Two Cougar Sightings Concern for S. Oregon Coast Wildlife Officials
ODFW sent notice to residents to be on the lookout. Sciences

U.S. Travel Tips: More Reasons to Meander Around Manzanita, on Oregon North C...
A quiet but quirky sense of the laidback. Neahkahnie Mt., Nehalem, Wheeler

Beneath an Oregon Coast Lighthouse: Heceta Head's Curiosities, Tales
Below the landmark sit holes, even explosive history

Mystery Oil Grows Along Oregon / Washington Coast as More Birds, Tar Found
Tar balls now found from Long Beach through Lincoln City. Marine sciences

Almost Aerial on the Oregon Coast: Dizzying Pullouts and Lookouts
What you don't expect at Gold Beach, Lincoln City, Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Oceanside, Yachats

Florence, Oregon's Rhody Fest Gears Up for May's Big Start on Central Coast
117th edition for its run of May 16 to 19. Florence events

Raucous Oregon Coast View in Lincoln City or Depoe Bay Spotlighted in May
Some of these sights cost a little less through mid May. Depoe Bay hotel reviews, Lincoln City hotel news

Seasonal Beach Monitoring for Contaminants Begins on Oregon Coast
Keeping an eye on coastal beaches for bacteria. Marine sciences

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on Oregon Coast Beach Connection
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted