ENVIRONMENT

Autumnal Equinox Kicks Off The Beginning Of Fall

Goodbye, sweet summer. The autumnal equinox kicks off the beginning of fall, and the end of a season cherished by most students.

In fact, you can expect the change to occur at 5:04am EDT on Friday, September 23, reports NBC-2 weather blog.

Although the equinox is said to signify when the Northern Hemisphere marks equal parts of day and night, Timeanddate.com explains it's not exactly equal:

This is because the day is slightly longer in places that are further away from the equator, and because the sun takes longer to rise and set in these locations. Furthermore, the sun takes longer to rise and set farther from the equator because it does not set straight down - it moves in a horizontal direction.

The equinox occurs in both fall and spring, and is known as the "vernal equinox" in March.

The Washington Post explains that adopting the autumnal equinox to mark the first day of fall traces back to the French Revolution. The Gregorian Calendar (which we still mark our days with) was thrown out in favor of the French Republican Calendar, which was instituted from September 22, 1792.

Longer nights, shorter days and cooler temperatures are just around the corner. But so are celebrations for Pagans marking Mabon, the Wiccan Sabbat, which honors the second harvest and the beginning of winter preparations. Also just around the corner ... Halloween!