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Breakdown: Happy Fall! Why we change seasons

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:12 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 9:26 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Autumnal Equinox or fall arrives on September 22 and that’s great but you may be wondering why we change seasons four times a year. There are two main reasons why, one reason is because the Earth moves around the sun in an elliptical Sun. The other is that the Earth it tilted on its axis of rotation.

It is all about the tilt and when a hemisphere is tilted toward the sun, that hemisphere receives more direct sunlight and will experience summer. When a hemisphere is tilted away from the sun and receives less direct sunlight, it will experience winter. During spring and fall the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun which results in the same amount of day and night.

Many tend to think the Earth is closer to the Sun during the summer and farther away in winter. This is actually not the case. The Earth is closest to the Sun in January. The distance between the Earth and the Sun does not impact seasons. Seasons change because of the tilt of the Earth and the planet’s movement around the Sun.

September 22 marks the autumnal equinox or it is also known as the September or fall equinox. It is the astronomical start of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere and marks the start of the spring season in the Southern Hemisphere.

Equinox is a latin word that means equal night. On the equinox, day and night are close to being equal in length.

The equinox happens when the Sun’s center passes through this line. When the Sun moves across the equator from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox.

Following the autumnal equinox, the Sun starts to rise later and it gets dark earlier.

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