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'All or Nothing' Meteor Event Possible Tonight, Tues; Oregon, Washington Coast

Published 05/30/22 at 6:35 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

'All or Nothing' Meteor Event Possible Tonight, Tues; Oregon, Washington Coast

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(Portland, Oregon) – Tonight and tomorrow night there's a unique possibility in the skies above Washington and Oregon: a meteor shower that is either a meteor storm or it's a total bust. According to NASA astronomers, the Tau Herculids may fire off as much as one one hundred or more per hour (maybe even up around 1,000 per hour), or it will be nothing at all. (Above: Cannon Beach, all photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Inland Oregon and Washington or the south Oregon coast will be your best bet tonight (Sunday night), but other parts of the Oregon and Washington coast won't be entirely without possibilities, if there really is a major light show. Forecast for Lincoln City northward, up through Seaside, Long Beach or Westport in Washington is mostly cloudy – which means some minor breaks in the clouds.

The southern Oregon coast and central coast – including Newport, Yachats, Reedsport, Coos Bay and Brookings – are forecast at partly cloudy this evening.

Rural areas like these on the Washington coast or Oregon coast will have far less problems seeing this meteor shower through the meager breaks. However, all areas of western Oregon and Washington go to mostly cloudy tomorrow night (Tuesday).

Wherever you are, it will be worth a look after midnight, according to OMSI astronomy expert Jim Todd in Portland.

“The NOAA weather forecast for Portland area indicates partly cloudy on Monday night and mostly cloudy for Tuesday night to view the Tau Herculids after midnight,” Todd said.

The Tau Herculids meteor shower could produce a meteor storm, as astronomers are calling it, but it depends on a lot that's going on with the debris from comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (also known as SW 3). It's been called a “thick of forest of space rocks,” but NASA said that if the debris is going slower than 220 mph (321 kph), then you won't see a thing. That debris field will miss Earth and our blue orb and the debris will both be on their merry, separate ways.

Another shot of good news: it's a new moon so there won't be much light interference from that astronomical body.

Along the Oregon coast or Washington coast, any beach or cliff area will be fine for viewing, but you'll need to stay away from local lights as much as possible.

Astronomers say around 2 a.m. may be best viewing. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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