What is the Autumnal Equinox?
Monday, September 23rd marks the first official day of fall! The reason why the season starts on this day specifically is because of the occurrence of the Autumnal Equinox.
Not only is there a day for the start, there is also an exact time that marks the beginning of fall. Here in the Quad Cities, fall will start at 2:50 AM Monday morning. This time tells us when the Sun’s rays are directly in line with the Earth’s equator. The equator is an imaginary line that cuts the Earth in half to show the northern and southern sections. The entire world will experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night on the 23rd because of this. The term “equinox” literally means equal night in Latin.
The reason we have equinoxes is because the Earth spins on a tilted axis. As our planet orbits the Sun, we change seasons depending on the position of the tilt. For example, during our summer we are tilted towards the sun to give us more daylight and warmer temperatures.
As we start fall, the Southern Hemisphere will begin spring. In just a couple months areas south of the equator will be tilted towards the Sun and begin their summer, while here we will start winter.
Get ready for pumpkin spice lattes, bon fires, and football because fall has officially been welcomed!