The Autumnal Equinox
IT’S FALL! THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX
In 2022, the Fall season officially begins September 22. This is when the autumnal (or Fall) equinox occurs.
Even you casual observers of things celestial know that the sun appears to move from east to west each day.
But it also appears to move, in a much more gradual way, from south to north and back again each year. On the first day of summer, the sun appears directly overhead in the sky. It’s at the furthest point north it will appear during the year. On the first day of Winter, however, the sun appears relatively low in the southern sky, the furthest point south it will appear.
All these apparent “movements” of the sun have nothing to do with any actual movement of the sun. They have everything to do with the rotation of the Earth (in one day) and the tilt of the Earth, either toward the sun (summer) or away from the sun (winter). The equinox is the exact midpoint between the sun’s migration from north to south. And, this apparent north-south migration of the sun is reversed in the southern hemisphere.
The autumnal equinox
The autumnal equinox is associated with the Harvest Moon – the full moon that occurs nearest to the equinox. At his time, the full moon rises right around sunset for several nights in a row. Traditionally this provided farmers with extra light to finish their harvests before the killing frosts of fall set in. Thus the name “Harvest Moon.” Special thanks and credit to one of our favorite publications, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.”
While it may not seem much like fall in Arizona right now, hang in there. Soon things will begin to cool down, without the cold and gloomy days that much of the rest of the county sees this time of year. We hope you enjoy the cooler weather.
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