WELCOME TO FALL: The Autumnal Equinox - KMSP-TV

WELCOME TO FALL: The Autumnal Equinox

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In Minnesota it starts to feel like autumn a few times before the actual arrival of the season of Fall. Yes, the leaves started changing weeks ago in some parts of the state, but The Autumnal Equinox is more scientific than a brilliant burst of color and crisp mornings. It's really about our trip around our biggest star, the sun. On the equinoxes the sun is directly overhead over the equator. Yes, there is more than one equinox as the same thing happens for spring.

You may also be asking yourself why isn't the amount of daylight exactly 12 hours? Its simple, on the equinoxes, the very center of the Sun sets just 12 hours after it rises. But the day begins when the upper edge of the Sun reaches the horizon, which happens before the center of the sun rises above the equator. The same can be said for sunset later that day. So daylight actually begins before the center of the sun is up above the horizon and the daylight is still visible before the entire sun dips below the horizon. This adds on a few minutes on each side, depending where on the planet you are located. Here is a graphic showing the actual sunrise and sunset for this year's fall equinox on September 22nd.

As you can see it's not exactly 12 hours of daylight versus 12 hours of darkness but its close. Actually, there the sunrise and sunset will be exactly 12 hours apart on the 25th with a sunrise and sunset both at 7:04. The amount of daylight will continue to get shorter and shorter until we hit the winter solstice on December 21rst.

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