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A Setting Teapot

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A Setting Teapot

No, a setting teapot has nothing to do with high tea, and it isn’t some kind of secret code or fever-induced hallucination. In astronomy terms, the “teapot” refers to the brightest group of stars in the constellation Sagittarius that appears in the shape of — surprise — a teapot.

While the ancient Greeks are responsible for identifying and naming most of the constellations we see today — including Sagittarius — modern astronomers occasionally rename constellations, or parts of them, in honor of common objects that would be more readily recognizable to today’s stargazers.

You can track the movements of the teapot, find times of sunrise and sunset, and more in the calendar pages of the Farmers’ Almanac (the pages across from the monthly weather predictions). These pages are filled with useful, and just plain interesting, astronomical data and facts for every day of the year.

Want to know what stars to look for during an upcoming camping trip, when to expect the sign to rise, what phase the moon is in, or when the next lunar eclipse or meteor show will be? Curious about how the full Pink Moon or Sturgeon Moon got their names? Just check your Almanac! Every edition is packed with 16 full months of sky-watching information.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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