Don Bauder 7:30 a.m., Dec. 4
Later Sunsets, Ground-Hog Day, Big Ocean Swells, Waxing Crescent Moon and Venus
The Sun Strides North in February, swinging higher across the sky each successive day. Already quite noticeable is the change in the time of sunset, currently almost a minute later per day, and sunrise, currently almost a minute earlier per day.
Ground-Hog Day comes Monday, February 2. If the sleepy woodchuck sees his shadow, so the story goes, he'll hole up for another six weeks of winter cold. None of this means much in San Diego, where a February warm spell can easily push the thermometer into the 80s.
Big Ocean Swells and wild surf conditions occurring during San Diego's winter season can leave certain area beaches partially or wholly denuded of sand. The powerful waves pull sand off the beach and move it into deeper waters offshore, leaving behind deposits of rounded cobbles where sand has been removed. During spring and summer gentle wave action returns much of the sand, usually in time for the arrival of summer tourists. Artificial sand-replenishment projects are usually in the works, too, whereby sand dredged from waters offshore is transported back to the shoreline.
The Waxing Crescent Moon and Venus stand together high in the western sky as evening twilight gathers on Thursday, January 29. The increasingly thicker crescent moon will be seen ever higher over the western horizon on several successive evenings. Venus itself will remain a bright, star-like beacon in the western sky for the next several weeks.