Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

May's Full Moon? Let's Supersize It: Washington, Oregon, Coastal Astronomy

Published 05/05/2020 at 7:24 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

May's Full Moon? Let's Supersize It: Washington, Oregon, Coastal Astronomy

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; some specials in winter
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Some specials for winter
In Lincoln City:
Some specials for winter
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
Some specials for winter
In Newport:
Look for some specials
In Waldport
Some specials for winter
In Yachats, Florence
Some specials for winter

(Portland, Oregon) – May’s full moon will be another biggie, this time with the third and final supermoon of the year happening May 7. This new chunky moon goes by a few names: Flower Moon, Planting Moon or Milk Moon, according to OMSI’s astronomy expert Jim Todd. He added it’s also the third-closest, third-biggest and third-brightest.

Supersized moons are not rare, but they are interesting. At least two, or perhaps a half dozen, occur each year. So, this phenomenon is not unusual or unheard of, Todd said.

This time around, if you’re looking from Portland, Seattle, Ashland, Skamania, or anywhere on the Oregon and Washington coast, the moon will appear full on the morning of May 7 at 3:45 a.m., which is the overnight hours of Wednesday night. Luckily, for everyone from Bandon, Yachats, Seaside, Raymond, the Olympic National Park region over to Seattle, Portland and Eugene, weather reports show clear skies overnight and the following night.

When it’s officially full, the moon will be high above the southwestern horizon, which means those just barely east of the Washington and Oregon Cascades will still be able to see it. Earlier that day, Todd said this supermoon will be a tad above the eastern horizon at perigee at 8:02 p.m., which means closest to the Earth – at some 223,856 miles.

Those on the Washington and Oregon coasts may have problems seeing that because of hills to the east of beach towns.

Todd said on Wednesday evening, the near full moon will rise directly from the east at 7:45 p.m., followed by sunset at 8:24 p.m. in the west.

“The following morning, the sun will rise at 5:50 a.m., followed by the moon set at 6:18 a.m.,” Todd said.

What will you see?

“When a full moon occurs at or near the perigee, it looks 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon,” Todd said. “That’s what the term ‘supermoon’ refers to. Generally, supermoon is used to refer to a full moon 90 percent or closer to actual perigee. This April's full moon is the one that most closely aligns with lunar perigee.”

The full lunar cycle is 29.5 days, Todd said, and a full moon occurs right in the middle of that. It’s recognizable by a near perfect spherical shape.

Then, there’s a weird little trick of physics the moon pulls on us.

“Technically speaking, the full moon only lasts for about a second,” Todd said. “This difference cannot be seen with the naked eye. Without a telescope, it is difficult to distinguish between a moon that is 100% illuminated and a moon that is 99% illuminated. While the Moon may only be 100% full for about one minute, it looks ‘full’ for about three days. On Tuesday, the precise instant of full moon comes to pass at 7:35 p.m. when it is just before sunset and barely above the eastern horizon.”

Fun Astronomy Facts:

Todd said the moon travels in an ellipse that sends it close to us and then farther in its orbit. When the moon is at its farthest away from us this ellipse is called apogee, which about 251,966 miles from earth on average.

“Its closest point is the perigee, which is an average distance of about 225,744 miles from earth,” Todd said. “On average, the distance from earth to the moon is about 238,855 miles. During every 27-day orbit around earth, the Moon reaches both its apogee and perigee.”

Since OMSI is closed during the current pandemic situation, Todd is featuring a regular set of videos about astronomy from a local perspective with his Backyard Stargazing series. Check out the museum’s Facebook page to see these fascinating and fun installments.

Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours

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

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


Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss


Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

N. Oregon Coast's Hug Point Has Its Ancient, Millions-of-Years-Old Secrets
Just a few short miles of Cannon Beach you'll bump into Hug Point. Geology, marine sciences, history
Sci-Fi Connections to Oregon Coast Includes Star Trek, LOST, Stargate, 65
A varied and surprising list from Brookings to Astoria. Sciences
Leech Lane Access and Beyond the Arch at N. Oregon Coast's Arch Cape
Near Cannon Beach there's the arch, remnants of other arches and danger
Southern Resident Orcas Off Oregon Coast Designated as Endangered Under State...
Only 76 of this type of killer whale left in the region. Marine sciences
Dune Novels, Movies Began with Frank Herbert's Visit to Oregon Coast Dunes, F...
Dune: Part Two has roots in Frank Herbert's research in the National Dunes Rec Area
N. Oregon Coast's UnWined Event is Tasty Preview to Astoria's Crab, Seafood a...
UnWined takes place on March 16 at Astoria's Liberty Theater. Astoria events
Quiet Yet Hot Little U.S. Travel Destination: Rockaway Beach on N. Oregon Coast
Now, it's still seven miles of captivating beaches, often full of solitude
What Not to Do on Oregon Coast: Small Beaches During Big Tides, Video
Just about every year it happens somewhere along Oregon's coast. Weather, beach safety

Back to Oregon Coast

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

Oregon Coast Lodging


Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details