Remind me: What’s the autumnal equinox?

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Autumn Serenade: The Fall Music Puzzler.

As the Autumnal Equinox and the Google Doodle marks the arrival of autumn, we provide a guide to welcoming in the new season and suggest where to watch foliage change colour The equinox happens when the equator passes the centre of the sun.The Doodle was designed by animator Kirsten Lepore, who lives in California, United States, and displays perfectly why autumn is one of the best seasons.

This happens only twice a year, in September and March, and effectively means that the length of day and night are equal. “In the northern winter – in December – the sun is actually closest to the Earth by a small amount, and in the summer it’s actually farther away,” explained Jay Holberg, a senior research scientist at the lunar and planetary lab at the University of Arizona in an interview with National Geographic. There’s a noticeable chill in the air, the leaves are starting to shift color and perhaps you find yourself turning a little more inward in your mood and your musical tastes. This is when the north and south poles of the Earth are not tilted towards or away from the sun, as at other times, but are aligned so as to give, theoretically, the same amount of daylight in both of the Earth’s hemispheres.

But it’s not all good news as the season also brings with it some typically mixed weather, with Britain set to be hit by rain, fog and sunshine over the coming week. Traditionally it signified when the farmers bought in the harvest, which perhaps explains why the full moon nearest the equinox is often called the harvest moon. The pagan festivities around this event were replaced on the Christian calendar with Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, which is celebrated on the 29th of September.

In a blog post, Google said the new logo reflected the fact that people interacted with the search engine across a range of platforms. “This isn’t the first time we’ve changed our look and it probably won’t be the last, but we think today’s update is a great reflection of all the ways Google works for you,” the blog post read. Many historians believe Stonehenge was built as an astronomical calendar. “The great sandstone monoliths at Stonehenge in southern England are said to mark the autumn and spring equinoxes, as well as the summer and winter solstices, the longest and shortest days of the year respectively,” wrote The Christian Science Monitor’s Noelle Swan. “More than 1,000 years after its construction, thousands of people still gather around El Castillo during the equinox to witness a mesmerizing trick of light and shadow. As the sun sets, a series of triangular shadows align in such a way that a diamond-backed snake appears to slither down the stairway of the pyramid,” wrote Ms. According to the Forestry Commission, the first trees to start turning will be native species such as dogwood and common spindle in mid-September, followed by maples, rowans and ironwoods. A dense swathe of copper beech trees surround this late 19th-century Gothic pile, whose name, meaning “red castle”, is apt, given the colour of the autumnal trees, which range from gold to rusty burgundy.

There are few spots better for an autumn walk than the 15 acres of pleasure gardens at this Victorian mansion near Doncaster, which contain more than 100 holly cultivars that begin to berry up in the autumn, adding dots of colour among the foliage as it turns from green to red to chestnut brown. From mid-September each year, the “koyo front” moves south from Hokkaido towards the south of the country, which it typically reaches around late November, though there should be foliage worth seeing in Tokyo and Kyoto even into December.

Of course autumn comes considerably later (or earlier, if you prefer) this far south, but it’s worth waiting till mid-April, peak season for the trees to sing out in spectacular yellow hues, especially next to the lakes and rivers around Tekapo, the Waitaki Valley and Central Otago. Autumn in Bavaria isn’t only about beer and pretzels – it’s perfect hiking weather, and the best time of year for magnificent views of forests, lakes and mountains south of Munich, as the pine trees turn. From the Chilean Lake District and Torres del Paine National Park, to Argentina’s southern Andes and the Perito Moreno Glacier, this is a truly spectacular and remote landscape with a huge variety of tree species which in April turn a glorious russet and gold.

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