Fall “Equals” Autumn

September 22, 2008

So here we go again, proceeding to a new season. At 11.44am ET, the season of Autumn officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere of good old planet Earth. At that time, the sun is directly over the equator.

“Equinox” means “equal night” (from the Latin). In theory, on the equinoxes you have equal amounts of day and night, but it actually varies because of a few factors, some of which being the orbit of the earth, the way the atmosphere bends light (refraction), and your actual position on the earth. But the common understanding is that we have equal amounts of daylight and nighttime on this date.

So here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days grow cooler, the nights crisper. Leaves fall from the trees. It’s time to harvest. And for a few days, it’s really hard to drive east/west at sunrise and sunset, as the sun appears directly in front of you.

If you are one of the people who love the soon-to-be-past summer (like me), you have my condolences. It will return, but there’s months to go, so you might as well enjoy the change of seasons.

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March’s Full Moon

March 21, 2008

The full moon for March 2008 will occur at 2.40pm EDT on the 21st. The March full moon is called the “Worm Moon” as the warmer days of spring bring the thawing of the ground, and the birds finally going after earthworms that are beginning to get active.

(Just a note about the time of full moon: the moon is “full” for only a moment, despite what local meteorologists say. This has been discussed before).

This also happens to be the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full moon of Spring. What is the significance of this? The date of the first full moon after the vernal equinox determines the date of Easter.

This year Easter will be about the earliest it can be, so expect some colder weather. You might have to hunt Easter eggs in the snow.