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

N. Oregon Coast's Hug Point Has Its Ancient, Millions-of-Years-Old Secrets
Just a few short miles of Cannon Beach you'll bump into Hug Point. Geology, marine sciences, history

Sci-Fi Connections to Oregon Coast Includes Star Trek, LOST, Stargate, 65
A varied and surprising list from Brookings to Astoria. Sciences

Leech Lane Access and Beyond the Arch at N. Oregon Coast's Arch Cape
Near Cannon Beach there's the arch, remnants of other arches and danger

Southern Resident Orcas Off Oregon Coast Designated as Endangered Under State...
Only 76 of this type of killer whale left in the region. Marine sciences

Dune Novels, Movies Began with Frank Herbert's Visit to Oregon Coast Dunes, F...
Dune: Part Two has roots in Frank Herbert's research in the National Dunes Rec Area

N. Oregon Coast's UnWined Event is Tasty Preview to Astoria's Crab, Seafood a...
UnWined takes place on March 16 at Astoria's Liberty Theater. Astoria events

Quiet Yet Hot Little U.S. Travel Destination: Rockaway Beach on N. Oregon Coast
Now, it's still seven miles of captivating beaches, often full of solitude

What Not to Do on Oregon Coast: Small Beaches During Big Tides, Video
Just about every year it happens somewhere along Oregon's coast. Weather, beach safety

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