First Day of Autumn
Started by Amaury, 22nd September 2013 03:58 in Talk & Chat

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    Default First Day of Autumn

    A little late on this, but it's September 21!

    First day of autumn!
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    Default Re: First Day of Autumn

    Amaury
    A little late on this, but it's September 21!

    First day of autumn!
    Well, this is an interesting question. When do the seasons begin and end? If we take 21 June as the beginning of summer, that is odd because it is the summer equinox, and 'Midsummers Day' is only three days later.

    The Welsh consider Autumn to start on 1 August. The Welsh word for July is Gorffennaf, which literally mean's 'summer's end'. So they would consider May, June and July to be summer, and Midsummers Day falls nearer to the middle of this.

    Personally, I would regard Autumn to start on 1 September. The schools start again, and the weather usually takes a distinct turn for the colder, in the first week of September, at least in our northerly latitudes.

    (This year was an exception, we had a few days of very warm weather at the beginning of September, but after that, it turned distinctly autumnal.)
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    Default Re: First Day of Autumn

    Amaury
    A little late on this, but it's September 21!

    First day of autumn!
    According to News sites, the Equinox is today. Sept 22nd. It changes from year to year.

    Days and nights are of equal length.

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    Plutonium
    Well, this is an interesting question. When do the seasons begin and end? If we take 21 June as the beginning of summer, that is odd because it is the summer equinox, and 'Midsummers Day' is only three days later.

    The Welsh consider Autumn to start on 1 August. The Welsh word for July is Gorffennaf, which literally mean's 'summer's end'. So they would consider May, June and July to be summer, and Midsummers Day falls nearer to the middle of this.

    Personally, I would regard Autumn to start on 1 September. The schools start again, and the weather usually takes a distinct turn for the colder, in the first week of September, at least in our northerly latitudes.

    (This year was an exception, we had a few days of very warm weather at the beginning of September, but after that, it turned distinctly autumnal.)
    sphinx
    According to News sites, the Equinox is today. Sept 22nd. It changes from year to year.

    Days and nights are of equal length.

    • March 21 through June 20: Spring
    • June 21 through September 20: Summer
    • September 21 through December 20: Autumn
    • December 21 through March 20: Winter


    I've always gone by the 21st. I don't care about the things saying the 22nd, mostly because the 21st is right, not the 22nd.
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    The equinoxes and solstices are natural reference points to define the seasons. Since the equinoxes are more or less the times when desiduous plants respectively come alive and start to die, it makes sense to label these the beginnings, rather than the middles, of spring and autumn. It therefore follows that the solstices mark the beginnings of summer and winter.

    For the purposes of maximum pedantry, I should point out that the solstices and equinoxes are, strictly speaking, specific moments rather than entire days: When the north pole is pointing towards the Sun, that precise once-a-year moment is the summer solstice. One quarter of a year later it is autumn equinox, etc.

    The dates of these occurrences are not fixed, for two reasons: Firstly, the length of a year, i.e. the period of Earth's orbit around the Sun, is not a whole number of days, so the exact time of day at which a solstice or equinox happens shifts by about 6 hours a year. If it were exactly 6 hours, then the leap year system would keep it all neat and tidy, but it isn't, so there's a bit of 'wobble' in the dates.
    Secondly, the orientation of Earth's rotational axis is not fixed: If you think of the axis as an arrow or pointer, then it traces a line across the whole sky over a period of about 26,000 years. (See "precession of the equinoxes"). Again, calendar adjustments compensate so that northern summer will always be in June even though the position of Earth along its orbit changes, i.e. 13,000 years from now at the autumn equinox, Earth will be at the opposite side of the Sun from where it is now, but these compensations are a bit of fudge because we're dealing with awkward numbers that don't allow a particularly tidy timetable for making the alterations so again, there's some more wobble in the dates of the equinoxes and solstices.

    A third, less significant factor that no calendar system currently used allows for is the irregularity of the shape of Earth's orbit, specifically the variation in the eccentricity of the orbit. The upshot of that is not all years are the same length, although that's over a much longer cycle and the effect over human timescales is negligible.

    So anyway, the simplest way to understand the seasons is to drive a big pole through the Earth and over the course of a year, watch where it points from a vantage point near the Sun. Since that's not doable, the next best thing is a diagram, and here it is:
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    FAO Scrotnig.

    Since we are at the midpoint between the longest day and the shortest day, we are halfway out of the light.

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    Amaury
    I've always gone by the 21st. I don't care about the things saying the 22nd, mostly because the 21st is right, not the 22nd.
    That's because you are American.

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    Despite the fact it gets dark from 7pm onwards, it still doesn't feel like Summer has gone just yet. Most probably because of a lack of wind, but the temperatures are still reasonable. Not exactly an "Indian Summer", but still pleasant.

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    A dipstick colleague remarked that he preferred the British sun to the Mediterranean sun.

    "It's the same sun", I pointed out, pedantically helpfully.

    "Yes, but it's a British sun when it's directly over Britain", he countered cleverly desperately.


    So, that'll be never.
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    Default Re: First Day of Autumn

    Memnoch
    FAO Scrotnig.

    Since we are at the midpoint between the longest day and the shortest day, we are halfway out of the light.

    HTH
    As it's autumn, the glass is half empty to me.
    Therefore I prefer "halfway into the dark".

    The spring equinox is "halfway into the light".

    HTH.

 


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