What you need to know about the Autumnal Equinox:
The autumnal equinox 2017 is finally here! But, what exactly is an equinox?
The autumnal equinox definition is one that baffles many. To fully understand the autumnal equinox definition, it is essential to first understand that the earth experiences two equinoxes each year. During the two equinoxes, the earth’s surface is bathed with light evenly throughout, which means that the equinoxes happen at the same time and the same moment everywhere in the world. This transpires when the sun crosses the celestial equator, which is an imaginary line that correlates to the earth’s equator.
The two equinoxes, which take place each year are known as vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The term equinox is derived from a Latin word that means equal night and is the reason why the northern and southern hemispheres experience different seasons at different times.
A few interesting facts about the Autumnal Equinox:
It usually occurs on the same day
The autumnal equinox takes place every year on September 22nd, 23rd or 24th. In 1931, the autumnal equinox fell on September 24 because of a rare occurrence in the Gregorian calendar that pushed the Equinox back a day. This year, the fall equinox 2017 will take place on September 22.
Autumnal equinox celebration
Cultures all over the world have been taking part in Autumnal equinox celebrations for years. One noteworthy Autumnal equinox celebration takes place at the ancient Mayan step pyramid in El Castillo, Mexico. When the Autumn and spring equinoxes occur, the sunlight produces a mysterious snake-like shape that appears to slither along the length of the steep staircase. Thousands gather each year at the step to witness this amazing event.
Equinox and solstice are different
The Equinox is derived from Latin words “aequus” and “nox”, which means equal night while the term solstice is derived from two Latin words sol and sistere, which means that the sun reached a stand. As such, the summer and winter solstice refers to the day of the year that experiences the longest period of daylight (around June 21) while the winter solstice experiences the shortest period of sunlight.
You may have noticed by now that the nights are much longer now that the month of September has begun, and that the sun has been sinking earlier than usual. In the northern hemisphere, the changes point to the end of summer and the beginning of fall. This year the fall equinox is scheduled to arrive on September 22, 2017 to signal the start of autumn for countries located in the northern half of the world.
Happy Autumnal Equinox!