The autumn equinox arrives on Sept. 22 at 14:21 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) or 9:21 AM Central Time or 10:21 AM Eastern Standard Time, marking the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the time of the year when the sun will be shining directly at the equator, causing day and night to be almost equal all around the world.
Equinox is taken from Latin words, meaning “equal night,” which alludes to the nearly 12-hour day and night that happens only on the two equinox days each year. Other interesting facts about this year’s autumn equinox are:
- The autumn equinox comes in many names. Some call it the autumnal equinox, while others call it fall equinox and September equinox.
- The crossover of the seasons is at the same moment anywhere in the world.
- National Geographic explains that an equinox is an alignment between our planet and the sun, a time when the sun appears right above Earth’s equator.
- Chron states that the sun rises directly east and sets directly west during equinox.
- This annual event will be the spring equinox or the vernal equinox in our planet’s southern hemisphere. Spring starts here and the weather warms up.
- in Latin, “equi” is the prefix for equal while “nox” means night. It is a commonly held belief that the day and night during the equinox are exactly the same length but experts assert that they are only almost equal.
- Many cultures celebrate this annual event by feasting on the summer’s harvest and preparing for winter. Among these is the Jewish harvest holiday called Sukkot. On the day of the full Moon close to the autumn equinox, the Chinese celebrate their version of Thanksgiving: the 1,000-year-old Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake festival.
- Since scientists like meteorologists and climatologists do not follow the astronomical seasons, they do not mark the beginning of fall on Sept. 22. Instead, they consider Sept. 1 as the start of fall, Dec. 1 as the start of winter, March 1 as the first day of spring and June 1 as first day of summer.