Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Meteor Shower and Rare False Dusk Over Oregon / Washington Coast? Yes, Please

Published 03/31/21 at 4:55 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Meteor Shower and Rare False Dusk Over Oregon / Washington Coast? Yes, Please

(Astoria, Oregon) – It's an action-packed nighttime sky this month for the Oregon coast and Washington coastline. You'll soon be able to see the Lyrid meteor shower in the beachy skies and there's a chance you can see the wowing but subtle rarity called the Zodiacal Light – or False Dusk. (Photo above courtesy NASA) has said the Lyrids may start showing up in small doses as early as this week. Normally, however, it's active between April 16 to 25, and in the northern hemisphere it's going to reach its peak just before dawn on April 22.

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that winter is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
Major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deals available; lodgings not listed anywhere else
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

Typically, even at its peak the Lyrids only get up to 10 to 15 meteors in an hour. They're usually not a heck of a lot brighter than stars, either. The moon will cause some light interruption as well until the later hours of the middle of the night.

According to Jim Todd of OMSI, all of this sparkly stuff in the skies is coming from the Earth entering a stream of debris from Comet Thatcher. Those little bits of comet burn up in the atmosphere about 60 miles above us (a little farther than the drive from Portland to Salem). They come through at around 110,000 miles per hour.

Some years, this has meant incredible silent fireworks.

“Occasionally, Earth passes through a dense region of the comet's tail and rates surge five- to ten-fold,” Todd said. “In 1982, for instance, observers were surprised by an outburst of 90 Lyrids per hour. Because Thatcher's tail has never been mapped in detail, the outbursts are unpredictable and could happen again at any time.”

Todd imparted some words of wisdom on spotting them.

“Meteor watching is an unaided-eye event but binoculars are handy for watching trails (persistent trains) that may hang in the sky for one or more seconds after a meteor's passage,” he said.

Sky watchers may be a bit spoiled this year because of the recent week's bright displays of fireballs. One – witnessed by Oregon Coast Beach Connection – was an extremely bright stellar mass that burned up a couple of weeks ago. Then last week many in the western U.S. saw the intense, slow, alien-like burn up of a SpaceX rocket.

Above: Zodiacal Light at Bend, Oregon courtesy David Lane

However, there's still a big surprise possible right now for those in the western U.S., including the Washington coast and Oregon beaches: the Zodiacal Light. It's subtle and you need to be in a dark spot, but that makes northwest beaches perfect, especially as it will appear off the oceanic horizon.

The Zodiacal Light is a weird, cone shape or wedge of light that flows upward just after dusk (or sometimes just before dawn). According to NASA and astronomy publications like, right about now is when you might be able to see it just after sunset. It is definitely not a guarantee, however.

It could be visible anytime now through April 11, according to astronomers.

If it shows up, it'll be about an hour after sunset, and then it may get easily confused with blue hour – that period of colorful, post-sunset display. The False Dusk could last as long as two hours.

What is it? That's a long story, though scientists have always known it's from cosmic dust particles around the solar system. There's strong evidence now it could be actually coming from Mars. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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


(Above: the Zodiacal Light in the eastern U.S., courtesy Stephen Rahn / Flickr)

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

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


Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Warm Sunsets to Raucous Oregon Coast Storms: Upclose at Cannon Beach's Schoon...
One of the major highlights is that beachfront lawn. Cannon Beach hotels, lodging reviews
Cyber Monday for Oregon Coast Too: Giving the Beach for Christmas
Give a night or two at the coast, or books, hoodies, T's. weather
All Aboard! Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Goes All Christmasy
Rides take to the rails every Sunday and Saturday until December 18. Cannon Beach events, Garibaldi events, Rockaway Beach events
Spectacular Geminid Meteor Showers Coming to Oregon Coast, Washington Coast
Perfect conditions may yield as many as 120 fireballs per hour
N. Oregon Coast Perch with a Monster View of Haystack Rock
Grateful Getaway is a luxury vacation rental in Cannon Beach with a view of it all. Hotel reviews, Cannon Beach lodging
Haystack Holidays Readies for Big Return to Oregon Coast's Cannon Beach
Starting November 25 and going through New Years Eve. Cannon Beach events
Deceptively Simple Oregon Coast Beach Spots: Bandon, Seal Rock, Lane County
Beaches aren't always what they seem at first glance
The Lil' Cannon Beach Cottage That Could: Whimsical Yet Historic Rental on N....
A little vaction rental called Lil Bird Cottage is antique-like but vibrant, bold. Lodging reviews, hotels

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Keywords: Oregon Coast, Washington Coast, Astronomy, travel, Florence, Yachats, beaches, Coos Bay, Westport, Long Beach, Ocean Shores, Seaside, Astoria, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, science, Newport, Bandon, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Reedsport, Port Orford, Gold Beach, Brookings