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A Bit About Autumnal Equinox Day
Fall starts in the Northern Hemisphere in September and the Southern Hemisphere in March. Learn the precise dates and what is meant by the fall season.
The sun shines squarely on the equator at the autumnal equinox, giving both the northern and southern hemispheres an equal quantity of sunlight. At 2:21 PM, the alignment is formally completed Wednesday.
Despite the clouds, Austin will have roughly 12 hours and 8 minutes of daylight.
The September Harvest Moon
Because it is the Full Moon closest to the autumnal (fall) equinox, the Full Moon in September is known as the Harvest Moon.
Daylight Savings Time Around the Fall Equinox
Except in tropical areas, the beginning of fall is followed by fast, dwindling daylight hours.
The equinox days are when there is the most variance in day length at any given location. Days continue to get shorter after the fall equinox, but they do so at a steadily slower rate.
The difference between days approaches zero on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
At the same time, areas nearer the poles experience more significant daily variations.
The day of the fall equinox is slightly under 3 minutes shorter than the day before in Toronto, but only approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds faster in Miami, which is nearly 2000 kilometers or 1200 miles farther south.
Are Day and Night Equal?
The day of the equinox is the start of astronomical fall. Due to the Latin origin of the event's name, which translates to “equal night,” it appears that day and night are both precisely 12 hours long.
That is not accurate, though. The equinox day lasts a little longer than 12 hours in most places.
The equinox is the time when day and night are genuinely equal. Both hemispheres occur a few days before the spring equinox and a few days after the fall equinox.
Although this varies significantly from place to region, fall is also the season in the temperate zone when summer's warm, consistent weather gives way to colder, more variable weather conditions.
When Does Fall End?
The seasons are not equal in length because the Earth's elliptical (oval) orbit does not move at a constant speed. In the Northern Hemisphere, fall lasts 89.8 days on average, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere, it lasts 92.8 days.
Fall or Autumn?
For the season that precedes winter, both fall and autumn are acceptable English phrases. Fall is a term usually used in American English, while autumn is generally used in British English.
Fall Hasn't It Already Arrived?
Although it doesn't seem like it, fall has started in Austin, abnormally hot and dry.
According to the weather, fall is defined as September, October, and November. In Austin, September has already seen seven days with temperatures above 100 degrees, which is more than June, July, and August had all summer.
However, Tuesday's cold front is predicted to limit daytime highs to the upper 80s or lower 90s and reduce nighttime lows to about 60 degrees for the remainder of the week.
Fall: According to Forecasters, it Began on September 1
Meteorologists favor a calendar in which the seasons begin on the same days each year because, among other reasons, it allows for uniformity in record-keeping.
However, because the Earth, sun, and stars do not perfectly comply with the Gregorian calendar, the autumnal and spring equinoxes and the winter and summer solstices do not occur on the same day each year.
Yes, the autumnal equinox will occur on September 22 again in 2020, but on September 23 in 2023.
A Moon's Astronomical Moniker
The Harvest Moon is one of only two Moon names that are astronomical words and not associated with a particular month.
Since the “Harvest Moon” is always the full Moon closest to the equinox, either September or October's full Moon might be designated as such.
The second astronomical Moon term is the Hunter's Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs immediately after the Harvest Moon in October or November.