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Saturn Brightens, Jupiter a Monster, Still Some Meteors Above Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

Published 08/13/22 at 11:38 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Saturn Brightens, Jupiter a Monster, Still Some Meteors Above Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

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(Ilwaco, Washington) – Look up if you're on the Oregon coast or Washington coast in the next few days, as the delights in the night skies are numerous. According to NASA, Saturn reaches a particularly awesome stage for viewing on Sunday, August 14, and even though the Perseid meteor showers have technically peaked there's still some to be seen until September 1. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Atop all this interstellar fun, Jupiter is still a monster of a bright star in the skies these days, easily competing with a post-full moon.

It's tonight (Sunday) that Saturn reaches opposition from the sun, said NASA, although a fairly full moon will be interfering with this. Opposition happens around midnight, lingering high in the southern night sky – which leaves it quite visible along the Washington coast or Oregon coast.

“This will occur during Saturn’s perigee - its closest approach to Earth - making it even larger and brighter than usual,” said the space agency in a blog post.

Still, it will be visible all night, and thus the moon will move well away from it at a certain point.


NASA illustration of spacecraft Cassini moving towards Saturn

High-powered telescopes are, of course, not something recommended for the Washington coast or Oregon coast with all the winds. But for those with that gear in other parts of both states, NASA said you'll get some extra visual treats.

“The rings of Saturn will face Earth at a 13-degree angle to our line of sight,” NASA said. “And though Saturn is much farther from the Sun than our planet - an average 886 million miles out, compared to 94.4 million for Earth - a unique phenomenon may lend it even greater brightness during opposition.”

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

NASA astronomers say the icy rings of the planet will likely brighten around these hours of opposition, because it's getting illuminated from behind the Earth.

Saturn remains in the night sky throughout the month, however, hanging out in the constellation of Capricornus.

“If you wait until a bit later in the month, you’ll find Saturn rising just after sunset, and in a darker sky,” NASA said.

Jupiter remains quite a bright spot in the sky, which under summer skies has been rather enthralling recently, both on the coastlines of Washington and Oregon as well as inland.

Meteor Shower Peak Coming to Oregon / Washington Coast (And Maybe Glowing Sands?)

For the Persieds, moonlight is likely still drowning a lot of that out. But the moon is waxing and starting to rise later and later, which will soon allow more light from that meteor shower to penetrate the atmosphere for those in the Pacific Northwest. Find yourself a clear night on the Oregon or Washington coast and there's a good chance you'll still see one or two once the moon has really shrunk by the 17th. These shooting stars won't be as frequent as the peak was, but they're very bright sometimes. Oregon Coast Beach Connection spotted an enormous, bright one in the Willamette Valley on August 2. MORE OREGON COAST NIGHT PHOTOS BELOW

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