The slight chill in the air, the earlier sunsets, the pumpkin spice lattes — no, you haven't imagined it. Fall is on its way. Sad news for all the summer lovers out there. Even sadder news: fall will be officially upon us sooner than you think. The start of fall is marked by the autumnal equinox, so when is the autumnal equinox in 2016? I'm saddened to report that the autumnal equinox will occur on September 22nd — exactly five days from today. So forget what you heard about Labor Day — this week is the last real week of summer. Excuse me, I need a minute.
For anyone who is not up to date on their middle school astronomy (no shame), an equinox happens twice a year, when the sun shines directly on the equator and day and night are about equal in duration. Equinox, equal, get it? After the autumnal equinox, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, the days will officially become shorter and the nights will become longer and we will no longer want to leave our homes and be social. Okay so that last statement isn't based in science, but it might as well be. For everyone living in the Southern hemisphere, the opposite is happening: Spring is beginning.
For New Yorkers, the autumnal equinox is happening on Thursday, September 22nd at 10:21am EDT, according to Timeanddate.com. This is the moment that the Sun crosses the celestial equator. So set your clocks now. From what I've gathered, combined with my basic powers of deductive reasoning, combined with the remnants of my 8th grade science education, I don't think that this is a phenomenon you can really observe — unlike the penumbral eclipse, for example. Earthsky.org notes that you may notice the sun's daily arc across the sky is shifting towards the south, but the equinox isn't the type of event where you'd post up on your roof with a telescope.
So mark your calendars for 10:21am on Thursday (or your local time zone's equivalent), and if you haven't completed all your summer goals by now, get to it. There is no time to waste. Fall is coming.
Images: vision webagency / Unsplash; Giphy (3)