Fall begins: Autumn officially begins at 2:50 a.m. Saturday
Autumn is here! The weather may not cooperate this weekend, but better weather returns next week.
It’s that time of year when we think of pumpkins, apples and the changing of the leaves, along with sweater weather. The sun angle gets lower and lower in the sky, and we lose daylight even faster now.
The official start to fall is Saturday at 2:50 a.m. This is known as the autumnal equinox. The word equinox comes from the Latin for “equal night.” Both of Earth’s hemispheres are equally illuminated because the sun shines directly over the equator, unlike on the summer solstice, which was directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees north. It’s the midpoint between summer and winter - but from this point on, the Northern Hemisphere will receive less sunlight until the winter solstice in December.
Watch as the sun rises and sets for the next several days. This will occur due east and due west. By next month, there will be a noticeable difference in those positions as the sun’s angle continues to change.
The Earth’s axial tilt is responsible for our seasons. The change in daylight over the different latitudes throughout the year gives us varying amounts of solar radiation, which in turn affects our weather. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the amount of daylight will continue to decrease through the winter solstice. Less daylight eventually means colder temperatures and changes in precipitation type.