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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

This Month: The Best Look at Neptune!

This Month: The Best Look at Neptune!

This month, Neptune, the eighth, and farthest known, planet in our Solar System, reaches opposition. A body in space is at opposition when it sits 180° from the Sun in relationship to the Earth.

Opposition is the best time to view a superior planet — one beyond the Earth’s orbit — because it is visible for more of the night than at any other time. For Mercury and Venus, inferior planets located nearer to the Sun, though, elongation is the best time to watch. Elongation is when these planets reach their farthest angle from the Sun, as viewed from Earth.

Neptune, which is the only planet in our Solar System that can’t be seen with the naked eye, is easy to locate this year. It sits in the constellation Aquarius.

Neptune will reach opposition on August 27, rising at nightfall and reaching its highest point near midnight. So be sure to head outside this month an get a glimpse of the Blue Planet!

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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 1910, 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.