What Is the Autumn Equinox?
Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere marks the beginning of autumn, which officially begins on September 22nd when the Autumnal Equinox occurs. This day signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall in much of North America, Europe, and much of Asia, Australia, and South America. In the Southern Hemisphere, this equinox marks the beginning of spring rather than fall because it marks the start of winter for those living below the equator.
Why Do We Celebrate This Seasonal Change?
The equinox is an astronomical phenomenon where night and day are of equal length, with neither having more daylight than darkness. This is due to Earth’s position in relation to our Sun. The word equinox comes from Latin words meaning equal night, referring to how each hemisphere receives approximately 12 hours of light each day.
How Does It Affect Nature?
The autumn equinox marks a change in season, when days are shorter and nights are longer. During these times, there are fewer hours of daylight to photosynthesize nutrients for most plants. Without these nutrients, many plants begin to lose their color—making fall a favorite season for many. As leaves fall off trees around you, remember that they will one day grow back in springtime with all new colors!
How Does It Affect Us?
The equinoxes are when our planet’s axis is most tilted with respect to our orbit around the sun. This tilt creates two distinct seasons on earth – summer and winter – because during these months, one hemisphere is receiving more of its rays. During autumn (northern hemisphere) and spring (southern hemisphere), we experience equal hours of daylight and darkness (and equal temperatures). While people in both hemispheres get 12 hours of daylight, it’s only 6 hours in length for those in between. This means that depending on where you live, there may be some light at sunrise or sunset, giving you more time to get out before bedtime.