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Almanac Companion Newsletter
September 18, 2012

An Early Autumn

September 22—Autumnal Equinox
The earliest autumn since 1896 arrives this Saturday, September 22, at 10:49 A.M. (EDT). At this time, the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from north to south.

As the weather cools, the days start to get shorter than the nights. See your local Sun rise and set times—it’s interesting to see how your day length changes.

The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night.” Around the time of the fall and spring equinoxes, there are equal days of daylight and darkness.

However, if you look at your Sun rise and set times, you’ll notice that there aren’t exactly 12 hours of light and dark. Why not?

On the equinoxes, the very center of the Sun sets just 12 hours after it rises. But the day begins when the upper edge of the Sun reaches the horizon (which happens a bit before the center rises), and it doesn't end until the entire Sun has set.

Not only that, but the Sun is actually visible when it is below the horizon, as Earth’s atmosphere refracts the Sun’s rays and bends them in an arc over the horizon.

According to our former astronomer, George Greenstein, “If the Sun were to shrink to a starlike point and we lived in a world without air, the spring and fall equinoxes would truly have ‘equal nights.’”

Read more about the first day of fall.

An Almanac Minute:
The Autumnal Equinox

Got a minute? Take a break for Almanac wit, wisdom, and whimsy—all in 60 seconds. Watch “An Almanac Minute: Autumnal Equinox.”


Quick Clicks

Fall Recipes
• It’s harvest month! See our Fall Recipes for delicious ideas.
• Use up homegrown herbs with our Herb Vinegar Recipe.
• We love fall baking! Check out our new cookbook, Everyday Baking. (More to come in our next update!)


Autumn Is for Apples
In Old England, this month was called Haervest-monath (Harvest Month). We like to think of it as the month of homegrown apples.

Almost any apple can be enjoyed when eaten fresh. However, not all apples are ideal for the kitchen. For example, the popular McIntosh might be great for eating off the tree, but its flesh is too tender to hold up to baking in a pie. However, the Cortland apple is a bit firmer than the Mac, so it’s a good choice for pies as well as sauces and salads.

There are many varieties of apples. Here is a chart with some of our favorite apples for baking along with some wonderful apple recipes.


Weather Blog: Blame Those Troublemaking MJOs
Are you already tired of the hurricane season? Now that we have some El Niño conditions, aren’t things supposed to quiet down? Read Evelyn's weather post for what's in store.

Reader Survey

It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.

–Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (18361919)

An autumn view!

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