Who's ready for fall? 9 things to note about the Autumnal Equinox from WeatherWise

Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 20, 2016

CINCINNATI -- The Autumnal Equinox is coming up quick, typically surrounded by the arrival of football, cooler temperatures and Pumpkin Spice everything. Here are 9 things you might or might not know about the celestial commemoration.

  1. The Autumnal Equinox is Thursday, Sept. 22 at exactly 10:21 a.m. EST.
  2. Equinox comes from the Latin words aequus and nox, which together translate to "equal night."
  3. We see two equinoxes per year, one marking the start of spring and one at the beginning of the fall season. It signifies the time when the sun’s rays are centered on the equator.
  4.  The sun will rise at 7:26 a.m. and set at 7:34 p.m. here in the Tri-State. Although our day will have eight more minutes of daylight than darkness, the equator will see 12 hours of each this Thursday. We’ll have “equal night” Sept. 25 here in Cincinnati.
  5. On the day of the equinox, the sun will rise due east and set due west.
  6. In the coming weeks and months, the sun will sink lower on the horizon in the northern hemisphere, making for shorter days up until we hit the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21.
  7. The Autumnal Equinox is usually on Sept. 22 or 23, but it can (on rare occasions) vary due to discrepancies between the heavens and the Gregorian Calendar. The last time an Equinox fell on Sept. 21 was 1000 C.E. -- 1016 years ago! -- and it will happen next in 2092. We had a Sept. 24 equinox in 1931, but won’t see another one of those again until the year 2303.
  8. The equinox also marks the start of "Aurora Season" in the northern hemisphere, when it becomes possible, or easier, to see the Aurora Borealis in the higher latitudes with longer nights.
  9. Finally, the equinox marks the first time the South Pole will see the sun in six months, but it also marks the start of six months of darkness for the North Pole.

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