The fall equinox—also called the autumn equinox—takes place every year at some time between September 21 and September 24. It marks the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. (The reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere, where the September equinox signals the first day of spring.) People have celebrated the fall equinox for centuries. In the Northern Hemisphere, the September equinox coincides with the fall harvest, and many ancient harvest celebrations take place on or around the fall equinox.
Equinox comes from the Latin words “aequi,” which means equal, and “nox,” or night. On the equinox, day and night are of nearly equal length across the planet.
As the Earth orbits the sun, it is tilted at a fixed angle. For half the year, the North Pole is tilted slightly toward the sun, bringing longer days to the Northern Hemisphere, while the South Pole is tilted slightly away from the sun, bringing fewer hours of sunlight to the Southern Hemisphere.
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