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Interstellar Marvels of the Moon Above the Oregon Coast

Published 11/20/21 at 4:24 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Interstellar Marvels of the Moon Above the Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – Sometimes the best of the beach isn't at sea level at all. There are times you should be looking up while on the Oregon coast. Like at night, for example: when the moon emerges it can create a whole new scene and set of weather effects. Our closest interplanetary neighbor staring back at us has a unique way of changing the landscape by reflecting its light on us, creating a new universe of shapes and enchanting, muted colors you've likely not noticed before.

The trick is to give your eyes a little time to adjust to the new lighting. Head out to the beach at night, stare for awhile, then you'll suddenly notice a shift. It's like you've stepped into an alternate reality.


Moon above the Siletz River, Lincoln City

Then, if you're lucky, the moon will be performing some tricks in the sky for you – such as the captivating lunar moments cataloged here over the years by Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

One example: moon halos. At the top, in Depoe Bay one cold winter's night, that ever-engaging phenomenon comprised of ice crystals in the atmospheric hovers over the central Oregon coast town. These crystals are very high in the atmosphere. This was taken on the eve after a very warm winters day, and things like this in the sky often mean there's something cold coming. Sure enough, the following day was a chiller.


Nearby, at Cape Foulweather on a summer's night, a monstrous moon shines down on the ocean and lights up sky just beyond a variety of fog layers to turn it blue – like some sort of fake daylight.

But, as we all know, the moon is visible during the day as well. Here, on the northern face of Pacific City's Cape Kiwanda, it reveals itself under the sun. With those massive sand dunes just below it, the place looks like something out of the first scenes in Star Wars.

Above Manzanita, some 500 feet closer to the that planet above us, the overlooks at Neahkahnie have become remarkably surreal, partially because of a fog lurking in the area. Car lights driving past and the taillight of the photographer's car create a red glow on the pyramid-like rock that's a famous sight up here.


In Newport, it's the day before the Fourth of July one year, and there's a full moon lighting up Yaquina Bay. Shooting at night always creates surprises, and here, for a change, the bridge is not as colorful (due to the exposure) but it's the town itself that's like a multi-colored Christmas tree.


Finally, near Oceanside, farther up into the north Oregon coast, this scene at Cape Lookout reminds us that even the moon behind clouds can be a mesmerizing thing. The last rays of sun paint the beach a piquant purple just as our big round neighbor begins to peek out.

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