Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 12
Low Tides, Grunion, Crescent Moon, Dawn Sky
A series of extreme low tides in late July/early August can be enjoyed by true "morning people" only! Check out the local tidepool life without hordes of other people around. Thursday, July 31 features a minus 1.5-foot tide at 3:26 a.m. On Friday, August 1 there's a minus 1.4-foot tide at 4:05 a.m. On Saturday, August 2 you can catch the minus 1.2-foot tide at 4:41 a.m. On Sunday, the minus 0.8-foot low tide happens as late as 5:16 a.m.
Grunion may be active again early next week (Sunday and Monday nights, August 3 and 4), roughly during the hours of 11 p.m and 2 a.m., following the nocturnal high tide. The small, silvery grunion tend to spawn on wide, gently sloping beaches such as Silver Strand, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Del Mar. California law allows the taking of grunion in summer (except in those areas classified as ecological preserves) by those possessing a state fishing license. The grunion must be caught by the hands only, and should be eaten (not wasted).
The thin crescent moon returns to easy visibility in the early evening sky on Sunday, August 3. Notice how the sharp-tipped cusps point away from the sun, whose glare will be evident on the northwest horizon until well after sunset. With every passing evening in the coming week, the increasingly thicker crescent will be spotted in twilight higher than and farther to the left of its initial position on Sunday.
Watchers of the dawn sky during early August will notice the bright, so-called winter stars -- especially those in the constellations of Orion, Taurus, and Gemini -- rising just above the rosy glow of morning twilight. A few bright meteors, belonging to the annual Perseid shower that climaxes August 12, may be seen as early as August 8. The moon's glare will not seriously interfere with the dark predawn sky (as seen from remote locations far from city lights) until August 13.