The 2023 Autumnal Equinox is today, September 23, marking the official end of the summer season for the Northern Hemisphere.
The Autumnal Equinox indicates the point in time when the Sun will be directly above Earth’s equator. This will occur at 2:50 a.m. Eastern Time and the sunlight hours will become equal to the nighttime hours on this day. The word equinox itself means “time of equal day and night.”
From this point on, in the Northern Hemisphere, the daylight hours will be lessened until the Winter Solstice, thanks to the Earth’s North Pole tilting away from the Sun.
Astronomical view of the Equinox. Image by NASA.
Many people around the world celebrate the Autumnal Equinox.
The Mayans at Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico built the Temple of Kukulcan. At every equinox, a snake appears on the steps of the temple outlined by the shadows created by the architecture and the angle of the sunlight on the temple.
Further to the north at Stonehenge in the UK, many gather to welcome the new season at sunrise on the first full day of the equinox.
Stonehenge at Equinox. Image by picture alliance / empics | Adam Davy.
The Autumn Equinox is officially the end of the summer harvesting season and the full moon around the turn of the season is called the Harvest Moon, which we will have on September 29. Farmers and gardeners use this time to bring in the rest of their crops from the summer growing season.
Although the calendar will flip to Autumn today, many places across the U.S. could continue to feel a bit of summery heat before Mother Nature allows for the Autumn chill to settle in through the coming months. Keep a close eye on the forecast to know when you can officially switch out those shorts and sandals for boots and sweaters.