Autumnal Equinox 2012

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Autumn 2012At 10:49 AM EDT, the Northern Hemisphere passes from Summer into Autumn as the sun passes over the equator heading south to give the Earth’s Southern Hemisphere its turn at Summer. The Autumnal Equinox is also known as: Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Fall Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Witch’s Thanksgiving, and the first day of autumn.

It is the second harvest, a time for gathering the Summer’s last fruits, giving thanks for the harvest and marking a celebration in gratitude as the soil and plants die away. This year’s Harvest Moon reaches its peak on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 11:19 PM EDT . The “Harvest Moon” is another name for the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, which marks the change of seasons. The moon gets its name from the amount of light it emits, allowing farmers to continue harvesting the summer’s crops through the evening. The Harvest Moon usually appears before or after the equinox.

The equinox actually lasts just a moment when the sun passes over the Equator and rises due east, setting due west along the horizon, everywhere except the poles.

A scientific myth is that day and night are equal around the entire world, not really:

   Most Northern Hemisphere locations, however, do not see an exact 12-hour day until a few days after the fall equinox (and a few days before the spring equinox).

   The main reason is atmospheric refraction: This bending of the sun’s light allows us to see the entire sun before and after it crosses the horizon. (By definition, actual sunrise occurs as soon as the upper edge of the solar disk appears above the horizon, while sunset occurs the moment the sun’s trailing edge disappears below it – though that’s not how our eyes see it.)

   This helps explain why the day is slightly more than 12 hours long on the equinox. It also explains why places on the equator always see just over 12 hours of daylight year-round: It’s because of the angle from which they observe the sun.

The seasons change and the world continues on it coarse through time and space. Take some time to notice our home, Earth.

My Autumn Leaves

~ Bruce Weigl

I watch the woods for deer as if I’m armed.

I watch the woods for deer who never come.

I know the hes and shes in autumn

rendezvous in orchards stained with fallen

apples’ scent. I drive my car this way to work

so I may let the crows in corn believe

it’s me their caws are meant to warn,

and snakes who turn in warm and secret caves

they know me too. They know the boy

who lives inside me still won’t go away.

The deer are ghosts who slip between the light

through trees, so you may only hear the snap

of branches in the thicket beyond hope.

I watch the woods for deer, as if I’m armed.

from The Unraveling Strangeness: Poems

h/t Hecatedemeter


    • TMC on September 22, 2012 at 07:12
    • banger on September 22, 2012 at 16:47

    I didn’t know about the refraction of light and the 12 hr. day–cool fact.

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