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Why Does The Almanac Call Planets “Stars”?

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Why Does The Almanac Call Planets “Stars”?

If you’ve ever looked at the calendar pages in your copy of the Farmers’ Almanac, you may have noticed that we refer to the planets as stars. This may be somewhat confusing to a first time Almanac user, but it’s a long-standing tradition that is part of our heritage.

If you check your local newspaper’s weather page, you’ll likely see the planets noted in the almanac section as “morning stars” or “evening stars.” Planets that are visible in the evening sky have always been called “evening stars,” while planets visible in the morning sky are known as “morning stars.” Before the invention of the telescope, we had no idea what the planets were. They were “star-like” in appearance, but differed from the stars in that they seldom twinkled, and appeared to have the freedom to wander in the heavens, while the other stars remained rooted in their positions.

Though we now know that planets are very different from stars, the long-standing tradition of referring to them as “stars” continues to this very day.

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1 comment

1 jtbroadfoot { 09.05.10 at 1:52 pm }

what “star” rises around 930PM in florida’s eastern sky? I think it’s Venus in the western sky from sunset to about 10PM, but who’s chasing her from out of the eastern sky?

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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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