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Autumnal Equinox

Despite various entertainment news stories, such as Willow Smith releasing a single, the weather is always a popular topic.  The autumnal equinox is the point in time signaling the end of summer and the coming approach of winter weather. In the northern hemisphere the September equinox symbolizes the start of the autumnal season. Due to seasonal contrasts between the northern and southern hemispheres, this event actually occurs in March in locations below the equator. But for those in the north, September 22 or 23 is the start of fall and the beginning of the seasonal change toward colder weather to come.

What Happens During Fall Equinox

During the autumnal equinox the sun crosses the celestial equator and moves southward. At this time, the rotation of the earth's axis is perpendicular to the imaginary line connecting the centers of the earth and sun. For this reason, many people believe this day to be one in which there are exactly 12 hours of sunlight. This is not exactly true in the strict sense, although it is the day in which the amount of sunlight comes closest to that figure for the year.

Variances in Sunlight at Equinox

During the autumnal equinox, the length of night and day all across the world is very nearly identical, the closest it gets to this day at any time throughout the year. But it is not exactly the same worldwide. The reason for this is simple: the day is just a little bit longer in regions closest to the equator than it is in areas further away from the equatorial line. The sun takes longer to rise and set near the equator, so the day there is longer than 12 hours, and away from this line it is slightly shorter on the autumnal equinox.

Why Autumnal Equinoxes Vary

The dates of autumnal equinoxes are not always the same from year to year. Generally this date falls on the 22nd or 23rd of September. But there are times when it falls on the 24th occasionally, and September 21 autumnal equinoxes are also possible. The start of the autumnal season is strictly based on the relationship between the locations of the earth and the sun to one another. And since our calendar is based on a 365 day year, yet our rotation around the sun is actually a fraction of a day longer than that, adjustments occur mainly due to leap years. The famous "wobble" in the earth's rotation also contributes in some ways to this variance.

The autumnal equinox falls right around the time when people in the northern hemisphere are just starting to transition in their preparations for the coming seasons. In many areas, warmer clothes come out as the temperatures begin to slowly drop. And after the equinox we start seeing folks use their furnaces at night to keep their homes warm.

Around the equinox is a good time to assess your readiness for the coming winter, especially in northern climates. The onslaught of snow and ice makes for a tough stretch of time for a lot of people across the U.S. It is good to prepare ahead to make sure we're ready. Replace old snow shovels or get snow plowing contracts in order. Make sure your affordable car insurance types are up to date and ready for those slippery road conditions, and check your vehicles from their tires to brakes to ensure they are road worthy in the ice and snow.

Getting Ready for Winter

The autumnal equinox is a signal to all of us that the summer is over and colder and more difficult times are coming. At the autumnal equinox we need to get outside projects wrapped up and get ready for winter.


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