Autumn officially begins in Northern Hemisphere

Autumn officially begins in Northern Hemisphere

The autumnal equinox of 2014 marked its first day on Monday at 8:29 pm MDT. Astronomically, the fall season comes to Northern Hemisphere, when the Sun shines directly on Earth's equator. The equinox occurs because the Earth's axis tilts neither away nor towards the Sun, which results in roughly 12 hours of daylight and darkness at all latitudes.

On the equinoxes, the very center of the Sun sets just 12 hours after it rises. Most people will never see the full 12 hours of sunup and sundown on the autumnal equinox as most people have hills or trees blocking their views of a flat horizon. Thus, they see the sun rise later and set earlier than it does when the horizon has no obstruction.

This date is called an equinox, from the Latin for "equal night". In simple terms, it happens when daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration.

Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, the September equinox marks the beginning of spring. Therefore, at the South Pole residents will be celebrating the first appearance of the sun in six months, while those in the North Pole will be preparing for six months of darkness.

Northern hemisphere will now enjoy shorter days and longer nights while the Southern hemisphere can celebrate longer days and shorter nights. The autumnal equinox also marks the start of six months of continuous darkness at the North Pole and six months of continuous daylight at the South Pole.

September's equinox is celebrated in many cultures. Pagans celebrate Mabon during the autumnal equinox, one of eight Sabbats, which mark the start of winter. Much like Easter, which falls around the vernal equinox, Christians celebrate Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael and All Angels.

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