Compiled by Kirk Ross
This has been quite a summer so far. July 2012 will be remembered as among the driest â€“ number five on the all-time list for the United States. It was also a reminder that itâ€™s probably time I dropped my annoying custom of refusing to use the word â€œhotâ€ until August. June and July were plenty hot, especially that string of days above 100. If the climateâ€™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, itâ€™s been quiet â€“ too quiet.
Thereâ€™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. Weâ€™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 â€“ Sunrise: 6:24 a.m.; Sunset: 8:21 p.m.
Aug. 31 â€“ Sunrise: 6:48 a.m.; Sunset: 7:45 p.m.
Full Moon â€“ Aug. 1 Last Quarter â€“ Aug. 9
New Moon â€“ Aug. 17 First Quarter â€“ Aug. 24
Full Moon â€“ 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 â€“ Saturn, Mars and Spica â€“ 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 armâ€™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.
â€”Amy Sayle, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
August is Water Quality Month, Catfish Month, Peach Month and National Picnic Month.
â€¢ Aug. 3 is National Watermelon Day
â€¢ U.S. Coast Guard Day and National Mustard Day are on Aug. 4
â€¢ Left Hand Day is Aug. 13
â€¢ National Creamsicle Day is Aug. 14
â€¢ National Bad Poetry Day is Aug. 18
â€¢ Kiss and Make Up Day is Aug. 25
â€¢ National Dog Day is Aug. 26