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Today’s Almanac – August 5, 2013

National Park News

The Skies

Sun and Moon Data

To find sun and moon rising and setting times for your park or office, go to the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day webpage.

Night Skies

An update on the moon, planets and night skies for the month of August:

  • Venus – The planet shines brilliantly (- 3.9 magnitude) in the evening sky at twilight.
  • Jupiter – The planet is bright in the morning sky in the constellation Gemini.
  • Mars – Mars appears only a few degrees from Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky in early August.
  • Mercury – The planet will be about ten degrees above the horizon in the east-northeast at the beginning of the month and will be at its brightest (- 1.0 magnitude).
  • Saturn – The planet is in the constellation Virgo in the evening sky.
  • Meteors – The Perseid meteor shower, which runs from July 17th to August 24th, will be at its peak (about 100 meteors per hour) on August 12th. The moon won’t be in the sky, so viewing should be good.

Calendar of celestial events for the month of August:
  • Tuesday, 8/6 – The moon is new (dark).
  • Friday, 8/9 – A thin crescent moon will pass to the lower left of Venus at dusk.
  • Monday, 8/12 – Peak day for Perseid meteor shower. The crescent moon will be between Saturn and the bright star Spica about an hour after sunset, with Venus not far away.
  • Wednesday, 8/14 – First quarter moon.
  • Tuesday, 8/20 – Full moon.
  • Wednesday, 8/28 – Last quarter moon.

For more information on stars, planets and other night sky phenomena, go to “The Sky This Week” page at the U.S. Naval Observatory page at

The Weather

Watches and Warnings

The principal watches and warnings posted as of early this morning were as follows. Note that these change over the course of a day and represent only initial daily forecasts. Click on this link for a full-sized map showing these hazards:
  • Red flag warnings – Eastern Idaho.
  • Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings – Oklahoma and parts of north central and southeast Texas.
  • Flashflood watches and warnings – Eastern Kansas, southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

For additional information on severe weather, go to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center at .

Tropical Cyclones

The National Hurricane Center is tracking two tropical cyclones:
  • Tropical Depression Gil – Gil, which was a Pacific hurricane last week, continues to weaken and is expected to become a remnant low today.
  • Tropical Storm Henriette – Henriette is in the Pacific Ocean west-southwest of the tip of Baja California and tracking west into the mid-Pacific.

For additional information on tropical cyclones, go to the National Hurricane Center web page at

In Memoriam

On August 3, 2000, Phillip “Pip” Conner, 29, a seasonal firefighter at Lake Mead and member of the Las Vegas Interagency Helitack Team, died when the helicopter he was in crashed upon takeoff from the helibase for the Charlie Complex Fire.

On August 4, 1941, Harry Jacques, a CCC worker at Yellowstone, died of a broken neck suffered when his truck overturned.

On August 5, 1973, Ken Patrick, 40, a ranger at Point Reyes, was shot and killed by a game poacher.

On August 5, 1997, Rory Perkins, a maintenance worker at Yellowstone, was killed when the modified snowmobile on wheels he was testing crashed into a brick wall.

Click here for a full listing.

From The Morning Report Archives

Today’s incident from the Morning Report archives:

Fire Island NS – Early on the evening of May 28, 1990, rangers and Suffolk County detectives responded to an intruder alarm at the 260-year-old William Floyd Manor and arrested a 26-year-old man from Mastic Beach as he was leaving the building with historical documents that had been on display in the manor. The artifacts were considered of irreplaceable historical significance. The man, an unemployed ironworker, was charged with burglary and arraigned in court.


Ruby on RailsRuby: 1.8.7, Rails: 1.1.6