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Today’s Almanac – August 12, 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:
  • 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 that this listing represents only initial daily forecasts. Click on this link for a full-sized map showing these hazards:
  • Red flag warnings – Southern Oregon, central and southern Idaho, and southwest Montana.
  • Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings – None.
  • Flashflood watches and warnings – Southeast Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, northern Arkansas.

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

Tropical Cyclones

The National Hurricane Center is not tracking any tropical cyclones at present.

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

In Memoriam

On August 10, 1942, Frank Riley, 42, a member of the fire crew at Sequoia NP, died of exposure and exhaustion after becoming lost on his way to a fire.

On August 10, 2002, Hakim Farthing, 28, a Park Police officer in Washington, DC, was run down and killed by a drunk driver while maintaining a fixed traffic post during an accident investigation on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

On August 11, 1943, Forest Townsley, 60, chief ranger at Yosemite NP, died of a heart attack while on backcountry patrol.

On August 11, 1988, Ricardo Preston, 37, a Park Police sergeant in National Capital Parks, died of a heart attack while participating in SWAT exercises at Fort Meade.

On August 12, 1995, Phillip Otis, 22, a volunteer/SCA, and Sean Ryan, 23, a seasonal climbing ranger, were killed in a fall while responding to report of an injured climber on the Emmons Glacier in Mount Rainier NP.

Click here for a full listing.

From The Morning Report Archives

Today’s incident from the Morning Report archives:

Biscayne NP – While conducting routine inspections of archeologically significant shipwreck sites on June 13, 1990, rangers discovered that the wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora del Populo had been looted. The ship is thought to have sunk during a hurricane in 1733 along with numerous other ships of a Spanish fleet. The site is well known to local divers and its location has been published. The primary disturbance to the site was the destruction of a mound of ballast stones which had been removed to facilitate digging for artifacts in the sand below. At least five pits were dug, exposing several of the hull’s timbers and ribs. The ballast pile was likely covering and protecting valuable artifacts. An investigation was underway.


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