Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
4:00 AM 22nd September 2021

Is Autumn Finally Here?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
According to the astronomical calendar in the northern hemisphere autumn starts on the 22 September with the Autumn Equinox and ends on 21 December 2021, but the meteorological calendar says that autumn began on 1 September.

There are two equinoxes every year - in September and March - when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.

There are two Solstices each year – in June and December. The summer solstice is called the longest day and the winter solstice the shortest day.

So what is the difference between the equinox and the solstice?

An equinox is when the sun is closer to the earth and the solstice is when the sun is furthest to the earth.

Astronomical Seasons 2021

Spring Equinox: 29 March
Summer Solstice: 29 June
Autumn Equinox: 22 September
Winter Solstice: 21 December

Image by minka2507 from Pixabay
Image by minka2507 from Pixabay
I expect you, like me, have noticed that the days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in. The temperature has dropped, mornings are getting chilly, can even be foggy or frosty.

Meteorological Seasons

Spring: 1 March to 31 May
Summer: 1 June to 31 August
Autumn: 1 September to 30 November
Winter: 1 December to 28 February

The meteorological seasons are different as 1 September is the start of autumn. This is because meteorologists like to divide the year into four equal parts of three months:

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
Why called Equinox?

The word is derived from the Latin aequinoctium, aequus (equal) and nox (genitive noctis) (night).

What can we look forward to in Autumn?

Well autumn is a very colourful month - thanks to the vibrant colours of the trees. The leaves on the trees stop producing chlorophyll which gives them their green colour, thus allowing other pigments of colour to show through ranging from yellow, to orange to red.

Migrating geese - photo by enjoiskate8
Migrating geese - photo by enjoiskate8
It is often a misconception that leaves change colour in the autumn but this is because there is less daylight during the months of autumn.

The sun is much lower in the sky in autumn and this is when birds and butterflies migrate along with the path of the sun. Some birds that migrate to warmer countries are nightingales, cuckoos, swifts and swallows. During the autumn we see some ducks, geese, redwings, fieldfares and waxwings arrive from colder countries like Iceland and Sweden.

Some favourite things about autumn:

Seasonal food: Apple picking, foraging for blackberries, butternut squash or pumpkin soup and hot chocolate to drink.

Long walks: The countryside and woods are spectacular in the autumn with the changing colours of the leaves, often reflected in the nearby lakes and rivers.

Log fires: The summer is wonderfully warm but there is something magical about cosying up in front of a real fire.

Build up to Christmas! And we all love Christmas.

Image by Rebekka D from Pixabay
Image by Rebekka D from Pixabay

When do the clocks change?

photo by Michael Garnett
photo by Michael Garnett
British Summer Time or Daylight saving commenced on Sunday 28 March 2021. It will come to an end on Sunday 31 October 2021 when the clocks go back one hour at 2am and GMT resumes - meaning another hour in bed for us in the UK.