Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Autumnal Equinox 2014!

Usually, yesterday is the Autumnal Equinox, AKA the first day of Fall.  Not this year, as Joe Rao of reports in Fall Begins Monday: Equinox Myth Debunked.
Sick of long, hot summer days? Well, you're in luck. Astronomically speaking, autumn is about to begin in the north.

On Monday (Sept. 22), at 10:29 p.m. EDT (0229 Sept. 23 GMT) autumn begins astronomically in the Northern Hemisphere. This also marks the start of spring in the southern half of the globe.

This date is called an equinox, from the Latin for "equal night," alluding to the fact that day and night are then of equal length worldwide. But that is not necessarily correct.
If you don't believe Rao, National Geographic confirms it in Autumnal Equinox 2014: Facts About the First Day of Fall.
The true days of day-night equality always fall after the autumnal equinox and before the vernal equinox, Geoff Chester, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., explained to National Geographic News in 2005.

The difference is a matter of geometry, atmosphere, and language.
"Those factors all combine to make the day of the equinox not the day when we have 12 hours [each] of light and darkness," Chester said.
The true date of day-night equality will be September 26, not today.  Just the same, the official day is today.  Happy Equinox!


  1. I celebrate the four corners druid style. I burn a candle on each of the four corners. I did it on the last vernal equinox and last years winter solstice and also yesterday. I missed the summer solstice because I was incapacitated with pneumonia and kind of forgot.

    Just checked and sure enough my day is still four minutes longer than night.

    In Seattle: Sunrise Today: 6:59 AM - Sunset Today: 7:03 PM

    Doing this has made me more aware of how the seasons change and in a small way returns me to a more natural and comfortable awareness of the world around me. Once paying attention to how the seasons of the year change was normal.

    1. I can relate to that last sentiment. Growing up in southern California, I didn't experience the seasons as usually taught. To begin with, the green season was winter and the dead season was summer, instead of the other way around. I was keenly aware of the changes in the sky, as I was an avid stargazer, so that had to suffice. Moving to Michigan put me in a place where there were the four traditional seasons, although the joke about this state is that the four seasons are really almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction. I tell that one, and it always gets a laugh.