Friends, Foes, Fellow Countrymen (and Women),
Officially, fall is upon us.
For a little while in my younger days, I actually took Latin as my foreign language. I am not really sure Latin can be called a foreign language as much as a “dead” language, but that is beside the point. Where did the term “equinox” come from? Latin…obviously. Two words that mean equal and night.
So is the fall equinox actually the day when night equals day? Not exactly. It is off by a few minutes. Why? It has to do with how we define sunrise and sunset and how we view the sun.
Sunrise is when we can first see the sun above the horizon. We can see the edge of the sun before we can see the middle (obviously). The equinox is measured from the middle of the sun (at sunrise) to the middle of the sun (at sunset). This means that the day is actually a little longer than the night at least in daylight hours. To further complicate things, the earth’s atmosphere actually bends the light so we can see the light (and yes the sun) slightly before it is above the atmosphere. Cool right?
Fall or Autumn?
In the United States, the term “fall” is far more common (unless you’re speaking scientifically). In the UK, Autumn is more common. Use what you like. I can tell you that if you are looking for funny GIFS, “Autumn” doesn’t produce near as many good ones as “fall”.