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.
An update on the moon, planets and night skies for the next few weeks. Visible planets during the period:
- Mercury climbs higher and higher in the evening sky just after dusk and is at its greatest elongation on February 16th. It then drops back toward the horizon.
- Mars is low in the southwest after sunset until about mid-February, when it begins fading slowly from view.
- Jupiter is high and bright in the evening sky – a magnitude –2.4 it shines brighter than any other point of light in the sky.
- Venus is visible before dawn in early February but soon disappears into the pre-dawn twilight.
- Saturn rises shortly before midnight by mid-February and appears highest in the south as morning twilight begins.
Calendar of upcoming celestial events:
- Monday, 1/21 – The waxing moon passes a half degree south of Jupiter.
- Saturday, 1/26 – Full moon.
- Sunday, 2/3 – Last quarter moon.
- Friday, 2/8 – Mercury passes less than a half degree north of Mars.
- Sunday, 2/10 – The moon is new (dark).
- Monday, 2/11 – Mercury appears between the crescent moon (above) and Mars (below) about a half hour after sunset.
- Saturday, 2/16 – Mercury appears at its 2013 best in the evening sky.
- Sunday, 2/17 – First quarter moon.
- Monday, 2/18 – The moon passes a degree south of Jupiter.
- Monday, 2/25 – Full moon.
- Comet ISON – The comet, named for the International Scientific Optical Network, could be the most spectacular comet to appear in many years, possibly as bright as the moon by next November. Click on this link for details.
- Comet PanSTARRS – This comet, named for the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, should be visible and possibly bright in the northern hemisphere in March. For more information on the comet, click on this link.
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 http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/tours-events/sky-this-week
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:
- Winter storm watches, warnings and advisories – Northeastern and central Montana, north central Wyoming, north central New Mexico, and a diagonal band from eastern Texas to Kentucky and from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.
- High wind watches, warnings and advisories – Northwest Montana, southwest California.
- Flood watches, warnings and advisories – North central Idaho and a wide band from the Gulf Coast in Louisiana to northern Ohio.
For additional information on severe weather, go to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/ .
There were no NPS line of duty deaths on this date. Click here for a full list of on-duty deaths.
From The Morning Report Archives
Today’s incident from the Morning Report archives:
Grand Canyon NP – On February 20, 1989, rangers were advised that a 34-year-old Flagstaff man was overdue from a month-long solo hike from the mouth of Pearce Canyon, partially located in Lake Mead, to Fredonia, Arizona – a distance of 150 miles. He had a 22-day supply of food with him and was known to have a great deal of experience hiking remote routes within Grand Canyon. A search was begun that day. An initial search area was established that ran from Pearce Canyon to the ranger station at Tuweep with a southern border along the Colorado River and a northern border along the Shivwits Plateau on BLM land – an area encompassing about a million acres. Numerous aircraft and scores of searchers were employed in the operation. On February 22nd, one of the hiker’s food caches, located on Muav Saddle, was checked and found to have been partially disturbed; tracks were also found. Evidence found over the next two days showed that he was likely headed toward Phantom Ranch. On the afternoon of February 24th, he made contact with a park employee at the Indian Garden ranger station. He’d covered over 200 miles on foot. During the debriefing, he told rangers that he’d changed his route during the hike and that he’d been forced to take shelter for 18 days in a historic cabin on Muav Saddle due to a winter blizzard that dropped two feet of snow on the region. He said that he was near starvation when he finally struggled through the snow and reached his nearby food cache. He then constructed crude snowshoes from tree limbs and window screening and set out across the North Rim. After five miles of hiking the snowshoes became heavily laden with ice and he was forced to turn around. It took him two days of struggling through waist-deep snow to get back to Muav Saddle. After two days of warm weather, he decided he was well enough to risk an exit via the North Bass Trail, which was covered with ice. He finally reached the Bright Angel Trail and contacted park staff. The search for him was complicated by the fact that he’d not obtained a backcountry permit nor filed a hiking route; he was accordingly issued citations and later appeared before a US magistrate.