Happy Fall!

Fall is one of my favorite times of year! I love the warm, spice filled recipes and Fall foliage. It brings me so much joy!

I decided to make this week about Fall because I saw an opportunity to bring out my Astronomy background on this blog. I get asked a lot why is there an official first day of Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and why we have seasons. This past Thursday, September 22nd was the first day of Fall. This marks an astronomical event which is the leading role in why we experience seasons. What does that really mean though? How do we determine this day?

Astronomers call the first day of Fall the Autumnal Equinox. Both at the Autumnal Equinox and the Vernal Equinox solar energy is equally distributed between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth because of its location in Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Looking the picture below, you can see that due to the tilt of Earth in its orbit the Sun’s energy coverage between the northern and southern hemispheres changes throughout its orbit. This is why we have seasons!

equinox

(Photo credit: National Weather Service)

In June, the solar energy has a higher distribution over the northern hemisphere, while in December the distribution is higher in the southern hemisphere. Hence, the seasons are opposite between the northern and southern hemispheres. Also, something to note in the image above, in Summer time for that hemisphere the pole has 24hr daylight and the closer you are to the pole the longer your day is in Summer. Then in Winter, the pole has 24hr darkness and therefore the closer you are to the pole the shorter your day is.

The Solstices are when we begin to experience a reverse in how the length of daytime changes. The Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year for the northern hemisphere and the Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year for the northern hemisphere. Now I also get questions about why the hottest days of the year do not coincide with the longest days of the year, this is because the land and oceans have not built up heat yet from these longer days to play their role in warmer temperatures. That is why peak temperatures do not match up with the longest days.

Hope you enjoyed my Astronomical post this week! Let me know if you have any questions and if you liked this post.

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3 thoughts on “Happy Fall!

  1. Mark Hudson says:

    I am going to relate back to your previous entry about your trip to Austin. Most interesting that you did the whole thing on such a reasonable budget. Austin is a really neat city with tons of stuff going on. About 3 or 4 months ago my wife and I went to Austin to visit my cousin and with a “local” guide we had a ball and saw lots of stuff. I must admit we like to eat and so does my cousin and her husband so we were not real careful about what we ate or how much it cost, that is one good thing about being retired and having planned well. The planning well fits right into your blog theme, with being thrifty at a younger time in your life so you can enjoy things in your later years. I did that a lot thru the years and did get some static, but it has paid off. Planning now and being frugal has huge benefits for your physical and financial health, DO NOT put it off, as it is never to early to start planning ahead, that is why they call it “ahead”.

    Liked by 1 person

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