By Forrest Brown | CNN
Twice a year, the sun doesn’t play favorites. Everyone on Earth is seemingly on equal status — at least when it comes to the amount of light and dark they get.
We’ve entered our second and final equinox of 2022. If you reside in the Northern Hemisphere, you know it as the fall equinox (or autumnal equinox). For people south of the equator, this equinox actually signals the coming of spring.
Your location on the globe also determines whether you mark the day this year on Thursday, September 22, or Friday, September 23. People in the Americas will celebrate it on Thursday; time zone differences mean people in Africa, Europe and Asia will mark it on their Friday.
People really close to the equator have roughly 12-hour days and 12-hour nights all year long, so they won’t really notice a thing. But hardy folks close to the poles, in places such as Alaska and the northern parts of Canada and Scandinavia, go through wild swings in the day/night ratio each year. They have long, dark winters and then have summers where night barely intrudes.
But during equinoxes, everyone from pole to pole gets to enjoy a 12-hour split of day and night. Well, there’s just one rub — it isn’t as perfectly “equal” as you may have thought.
There’s a good explanation (SCIENCE!) for why you don’t get precisely 12 hours of daylight on the equinox. More on that farther down.
But first, here are the answers to your other burning equinox questions:
Where does the word ‘equinox’ come from?
From our CNN Fast Facts file: The term equinox comes from the Latin word equinoxium, meaning “equality between day and night.”
Precisely when does the fall equinox happen?
The exact time depends on whom you ask. The equinox will arrive at 1:03 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) Friday, September 23, according to NASA and TimeandDate.com. However, it will be 1:04 UTC according to the Royal Museums Greenwich and the US National Weather Service.
For people in places such as Toronto and Washington, DC, that’s 9:03 p.m. local time. It comes at 8:03 p.m in Mexico City and Chicago. Out West in San Diego and Vancouver, that means it arrives at 6:03 p.m.
But go in the other direction across the Atlantic Ocean, and the time change puts you into Friday. For residents of Madrid, Berlin and Cairo, it comes at 3:03 a.m. Friday. Going farther east, Dubai marks the exact event at 5:03 a.m.
For residents of Bangkok, it’s 8:03 a.m. while Tokyo clocks in at 10:03 a.m. You can click here to see more cities (rounded down by one minute and adjusted for Daylight Saving Time).
Is the autumn equinox the official first day of fall?
Yes. Fall officially begins on the autumn equinox.
But there are actually two measures of the seasons: “the astronomical seasons” (which follow the arrivals of equinoxes and solstices) and what’s called the “meteorological seasons.”
Allison Chinchar, CNN meteorologist, explains the differences:
“Astronomical fall is essentially …read more
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