If you’re counting down the days – and minutes – until fall! This year’s Autumnal Equinox occurs on September 22, 2022, at 8:04 PM CST, officially marking the new season.

There’s an exact moment in time when summer officially ends and fall begins. It’s known as the autumnal equinox and, this year, it happens at precisely 8:04 PM on Thursday, September 22nd. 

What is an Equinox?

The word “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus meaning “equal,” and nox meaning “night.” During the two equinoxes each year, the duration of day and night are almost exactly the same. This is due to the earth’s tilt (or lack thereof), which causes the sun to shine directly on the equator. The equinox marks the astronomical switching of the seasons. 

What Happens Around the World?

While those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are celebrating the “autumnal equinox”, people in the Southern Hemisphere are observing their “spring equinox.” This happens when the Earth’s shifts its axial tilt and moves the lower half of the globe closer to the sun.  

So while days in the Nothern Hemisphere grow shorter, darker, and cooler, the days in the Sothern Hemisphere grow longer, brighter, and warmer. Consequently, people living south of the equator experience their autumnal equinox at the same time we welcome spring.

Fall Equinox Fun Facts

  • As the planet’s Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun, solar winds are able to better reach the atmosphere through a geomagnetic field. Plasma particles interact with oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements in the air to emit the fantastical lights we know as the Aurora Borealis.
  • The full moon occurring closest to the autumnal equinox is known as the “Harvest Moon.” The moon’s extra bright light provides farmers with precious extra time to harvest their crops before frost sets in.
  • Autumnal equinox celebrations occur in various cultures each year. The Japanese Higan, Chinese Moon Festival, and pagan Mabon reserve this time to reflect and to be thankful for bountiful harvests.

While it’s sad to see summer go, we’re excited to ring in the fall season with warm colors and time-honored traditions. What does the changing of the seasons mean to you?

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