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Spacecraft Captures Images of Oregon Coast Crabbers Aglow

Published 12/04/21 at 7:42 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Spacecraft Captures Images of Oregon Coast Crabbers Aglow

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(Oregon Coast) – As commercial crabbing on the Oregon coast opens on time for the first time in several years, the state's crabbing fleet makes an impression in outer space. A satellite from the National Weather Service (NWS) managed to capture an enormous pattern of glowing dots skirting the edge of the state's shoreline, turning out to be a spectacular shot of Oregon crabbing boats from several miles up just beyond our atmosphere. (Above courtesy NWS - the cropped version. See uncropped below)

It's a stunning and unusual merger of the Oregon coast and astronomy.

The NWS sent out the photo this week after checking its satellite feed, finding not just the usual, unmistakable glow of city lights in the valley towns, but a bundle of dots just offshore.

“Sometimes our #satellites can see more than clouds,” the NWS office in Medford said in a Tweet.

The highest concentration of lights are happening right off Lane and Lincoln counties, in the middle of the satellite image. The largest seems to be a bundle of them right outside of Florene, on the central Oregon coast.

The image was taken on the evening of Thursday, December 2 – one day after crabbing season opened for commercial vessels.

This image itself is an appropriate celebratory instance for crabbers along the Oregon coast, who are pleased that the season opened on time this year, the first time it's done so in about seven years, since the 2014-15 season. Previous years had seen serious delays, because of reasons such as crab sizes not being right yet, marine toxin levels or price negotiations still happening.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) tested crabs out of Oregon's six major crabbing ports beginning in early November. They found Oregon's crab harvest areas had high meat yield and were well below domoic acid alert levels.

Crab boats were allowed to set their pots on November 28 to allow for a December 1 opening, and indeed the entire Oregon coast fleet zipped out there.

Recreational Dungeness crab harvest in the ocean off Oregon also opened December 1 in all areas, as scheduled. Recreational crab harvesting in bays, estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties is currently open coastwide. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage before crabbing.


Satellite images of the Oregon coast abound from NWS satellites, two of which are called GOES-East and GOES-10, often referred to as GOES-West. The latter is the satellite snapping weather imagrey from space for this region. The photo above was taken on Saturday afternoon, showing largely only clouds over the Washington coast and Oregon coast. [Also see Seeing the Oregon Coast from Space and Vice Versa ]


NWS spacecraft are equipped with some interesting weather gadgets, which include the ability to show only water vapor, as seen here above from this shot taken Saturday as well.

See below for more spectacular shots of Oregon coast crabbers.

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Photo of crab boats off north Oregon coast, courtesy Seaside Aquarum

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

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