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The Great, Big Solar Eclipse Coming to Oregon Coast First: Events, Hotels, Travel Advice, Science

Published 09/12/23 at 6:07 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

The Great, Big Solar Eclipse Coming to Oregon Coast First: Events, Hotels, Travel Advice, Science

(Coos Bay, Oregon) – It's the day that the south Oregon coast will be living that ol' Johnny Cash tune: there's a “ring of fire” coming on October 14. (Above: 2017 eclipse, Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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A major solar eclipse is coming to Oregon and much of the U.S. on that day, the first since that spectacular eclipse in 2017. However, this one won't be a total eclipse but rather an annular eclipse – meaning 98% of the sun will get covered by our sister Moon, causing a ring of fire.

Portland astronomy expert Jim Todd, with OMSI, said it's going to be in full effect around the Oregon / California border, while the rest of the Pacific Northwest, through into the Washington coast, will get to see some cool partial action.

There's a fairly wide band of an area that will get to see the best of it, with the region near Reedsport on the southern Oregon coast getting to see it absolutely first. Some 93 miles – with Reedsport in the middle – get the full effect, with Bandon and Coos Bay setting up special events for the great, big to-do.

A much wider area that stretches all the way up into Washington will get to see the eclipse in a diminished form, which includes Portland, Eugene and Salem.

Unlike the last total eclipse back in 2017, the weather in the Willamette Valley and the Oregon coast is a bit less likely to cooperate since this will be in the middle of October, said Todd.

“Southern Oregon also has the best climate in the state for viewing the eclipse,” Todd said.

The annular eclipse occurs because the Earth, Moon and the Sun align in just the right way so that the Moon blocks out the Sun.

“But while a total eclipse happens when the Moon is at the right distance from the Earth that it appears to cover the Sun completely, the annular eclipse is different,” Todd said. “The new Moon is still directly between the Earth and the Sun, but at a farther distance from the Earth than with a total solar eclipse. As a result, the Moon’s disk appears too small to completely cover the Sun, and we observe the Sun as a ring or 'annulus' surrounding the Moon.

At Reedsport, it first makes landfall on the continent of North America at 9:13 a.m., where you'll see it for about 4 minutes and 29 seconds. The geographical band with the full eclipse happens from Langlois on the south coast up to Gleneden Beach on the central coast. That translates to just below Bandon all the way up to just south of Lincoln City, and including the towns of Charleston, Coos Bay, Myrtle Point, Florence, Yachats, Newport and Depoe Bay.


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Those areas get to see it for four minutes all the way down to two minutes at the northernmost and southernmost reaches of the path.

From there northward, areas like Long Beach, Ilwaco, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Tillamook, Oceanside and Lincoln City will get to see variations of the eclipse effect, just getting partial blockage of the sun.

Those areas – including spots like Portland, Vancouver or Salem – may get to see something else unique, however.

“At the edge of the annularity path, it is possible to see a broken ring of fire and a phenomenon called Bailey's beads,” Todd said. “Both are caused by rays of the Sun peeking through mountains and craters along the edge of the Moon’s surface.”

Events

Bandon hosts its Festival of Light watch party at Bullards Beach - just north of the Coquille River Lighthouse. That starts at 7:30 a.m.

At Coos Bay: Ring of Fire Watch Party at Shore Acres. Special telescopes and guides will be onhand. 8 am (Eclipse begins at 8:04, is at it’s peak at 9:18, ends at 10:38) Parking: $5 parking fee (or annual State Park Pass or Coastal Passport). Also a Downtown Viewing Party, with food trucks and more (info coming soon).

Florence, Yachats, and Newport have no specific events geared to the event.

2023 solar Eclipse Travel Advice

Get your lodging early as these tend to sell out, say officials from Travel Oregon, Bandon and Coos Bay. As of September 12, Bandon, Florence and the Coos Bay area were reporting not being sold out yet. Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

According to Travel Oregon:

“Reserve lodging early: Many hotels and campsites in the path of annularity will likely sell out.”

When it comes to traffic, be prepared, said Travel Oregon:

“Many small communities in the path have only one road leading in and out. These could get backed up, making traffic an issue. There are also home football games on eclipse day in both Corvallis and Eugene, which will add to potential backups on I-5 and in those urban areas. To reduce congestion, avoid highways and other popular attractions in the path of the eclipse. Plan to arrive at least one full day, and ideally several days, in advance of the event — and don’t attempt to travel home immediately after the eclipse. If possible, avoid traveling entirely in the path of annularity on October 14, 2023.” See their eclipse guide for the state.

Viewing Advice

Most importantly, do not view any of this eclipse without eye protection, said Todd, as well as Travel Oregon, Bandon and Coos Bay officials. Even during the annular phase, the Sun shines brightly enough to damage your eyes if the eclipse is observed without a protective filter. Use only an approved solar filter that blocks dangerous ultraviolet and infrared radiation as well as visible light.

According to Todd:

The shadow of the Moon at this point is moving at 7,534 miles per hour. The maximum duration of annularity on the Oregon coast is 4 minutes, 29 seconds and the eclipse is 13 degrees high above the southeastern horizon. A few minutes later, Crater Lake will enjoy 4 minutes and 24 seconds of the eclipse. Eugene will have an impressive 3 minutes, and 54 seconds of viewing. Although further from the centerline, the area of Klamath Falls will have 3 minutes and 23 seconds.



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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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