ROSS’S ALMANAC for August 2012

Compiled by Kirk Ross

This has been quite a summer so far. July 2012 will be remembered as among the driest – number five on the all-time list for the United States. It was also a reminder that it’s probably time I dropped my annoying custom of refusing to use the word “hot” until August. June and July were plenty hot, especially that string of days above 100. If the climate’s going to change, I might as well too.

As extreme as the heat has been, the tropics have been fairly calm. You may recall that the season began with a couple of named storms before hurricane season officially started. Since then, it’s been quiet – too quiet.

There’s some indication that the season will start to busy up a bit. Texas, the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Valley sure could use a soaker. We’re not quite as dry, but a little light tropical relief would certainly be welcome.

August is one of those months in which the extent of daylight changes at quick pace. We lose almost a full hour over the course of the month.

Aug. 1 – Sunrise: 6:24 a.m.; Sunset: 8:21 p.m.
Aug. 31 – Sunrise: 6:48 a.m.; Sunset: 7:45 p.m.

Full Moon – Aug. 1 Last Quarter – Aug. 9
New Moon – Aug. 17 First Quarter – Aug. 24
Full Moon – Aug. 31

The full moon in August is the Red Moon, Green Corn Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Grain Moon, Lightning Moon and Dog Moon

Planets & Stars
Over the month, three bright objects – Saturn, Mars and Spica – slowly converge and then diverge low in the early-evening western sky. Look for Saturn about 5 degrees (half the width of a fist held at arm’s length) above Spica, a bright bluish-white star. Mars lies to the right (west) of Saturn and Spica until nearly mid-month, when Mars passes in between them, heading to the left (east). Jupiter and Venus dominate the eastern morning sky; Venus is the brighter and lower of the two planets. At mid-month Mercury pops up in the eastern morning twilight.
—Amy Sayle, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Significant dates
August is Water Quality Month, Catfish Month, Peach Month and National Picnic Month.
• Aug. 3 is National Watermelon Day
• U.S. Coast Guard Day and National Mustard Day are on Aug. 4
• Left Hand Day is Aug. 13
• National Creamsicle Day is Aug. 14
• National Bad Poetry Day is Aug. 18
• Kiss and Make Up Day is Aug. 25
• National Dog Day is Aug. 26