Today is the last day of summer 2012 and fall is just hours away—that means another fall (or autumnal) equinox is coming.
But what is the autumnal equinox? Most people don't quite know, so let Wallingford Patch serve as the great explainer for all things equinoctial.
Equinoxes fall on the halfway point between solstices and occur, according to the Washington Post, "when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of roughly equal length, everywhere in the world."
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The nearly equal 12 hours of light and darkness can be attributed to the Earth's lack of an axial tilt on the day of the equinox. In fact, the word equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night.
In Wallingford on the autumnal equinox, according to sunrisesunset.com, the sun will come up at 6:38 a.m. and set at 6:51 p.m. As you notice, that is not actually a perfect 12 hours of light and darkness. As timeanddate.com reports, this is because of issues such as light refraction and other reasons.
The exact moment of the autumnal equinox this year is 2:49 p.m. Coordinated Universal Time, or 10:49 a.m.
See ya next year, summer. Hello fall, and happy autumnal equinox!