In 2014, the autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on: September 22 at 10:29 P.M. EDT.
Questions and Answers About Fall
Question: Why aren't there exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness on the fall equinox?
Answer: 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 a bit before the center rises), and it doesn't end until the entire Sun has set. Not only that, but the Sun is actually visible when it is below the horizon, as Earth's atmosphere refracts the Sun's rays and bends them in an arc over the horizon. According to our former astronomer, George Greenstein, "If the Sun were to shrink to a starlike point and we lived in a world without air, the spring and fall equinoxes would truly have 'equal nights.'"
Question: The autumn leaves seem to be hanging on longer than usual in my neck of the woods. Is this an indication of winter weather to come?
Answer: There's an old weather proverb that states, "If autumn leaves are slow to fall, prepare for a cold winter." Or perhaps you just haven't had the kind of wind or rain needed to shake the leaves loose from their branches. But look on the bright side—you get to look at the beautiful autumn foliage for a little bit longer!