While autumn to most meteorologists begins September 1, in true astronomy terms, the Autumn Equinox arrived today, Monday, September 23. The autumnal equinox—also called the September or fall equinox—is the astronomical start of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere and the spring season in the Southern Hemisphere.
The autumnal equinox is one of four days (two equinoxes and two solstices) throughout the year that marks the beginning of a new season. The other days are the vernal equinox (beginning of spring), the Summer Solstice (beginning of summer) and the Winter Solstice (beginning of winter).
The word “equinox” is derived from Latin and means “equal night”. On the day of an equinox, day and night are of approximately equal length all over the world, as the Earth’s rotational axis is neither tilted away from or towards the Sun. At all other times, the length of day and night will be different.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox occurs every year on September 21 to 23. Occasionally it can also fall on September 21 or 24. While the autumnal equinox occurs at the same moment in time all over the world, the date and local time differ from place to place depending on the year and a location’s time zone. (2020 will be a leap year.)
For Farmers, the autumnal equinox is the start of the harvest season. For families, the autumnal equinox is the time to visit apple orchards, pumpkin patches and visit corn mazes. For students, the autumnal equinox is the time for football games and homecomings. For librarians, the autumnal equinox is the time to introduce readers to Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken“.
Enjoy the fall while you can. “The Farmers’ Almanac” released its annual extended forecast for winter 2019-2020. The Almanac is predicting a “freezing, frigid, and frosty” winter. Soak up the sun while you still can, because it’s going to be a very long cold winter. “The Farmers’ Almanac” predicted the same for last winter and sadly it was true.
It is not too late to visit one of the local farm destinations for apple picking, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes. A drive to Jonomac Orchards (south Malta) for apples, apple donuts, and their wonderful Apple Cider. Visit Yager’s Market east of DeKalb and try and get through their ‘Senior Citizen Corn Maze’ and find great fall flowers and some specialized jams and jellies.
Half of us in DeK alb County are missing summer already, but half of us are eager for winter. So from us to you, Happy Autumn!