The September Equinox, also known as the Autumnal or Autumn Equinox, is going to take place on Monday, September 22 in the United States.
It’s slated to happen at 10:29 p.m. EDT (9:29 p.m. CDT, 8:29 p.m. MDT), according to astronomers.
The equinox “is the moment when the Sun shines directly on the Earth’s equator and equally lights up the Northern and Southern Hemispheres,” explained NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a blog post.
“This equinox marks the beginning of Fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere.”
The word equinox is derived from two Latin words–aequus (equal) and nox (night).
“At the equator, the sun is directly overhead at noon on these two equinoxes. The ‘nearly’ equal hours of day and night is due to refraction of sunlight. or a bending of the light’s rays that causes the sun to appear above the horizon when the actual position of the sun is below the horizon. Additionally, the days become a little longer at the higher latitudes (those at a distance from the equator) because it takes the sun longer to rise and set,” the National Weather Service said.
“Therefore, on the equinox and for several days before and after the equinox, the length of day will range from about 12 hours and six and one-half minutes at the equator, to 12 hours and 8 minutes at 30 degrees latitude, to 12 hours and 16 minutes at 60 degrees latitude.”
Daylight hours will decrease now until December 21, or the winter solstice. Daylight hours will then increase until the spring equinox, which is slated for March 20, 2015.
As for celebration ideas, they include building a stone monument and enjoying a glass of wine. Check out the video near the top of the page for specific instructions.