Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
1:15 AM 23rd September 2023

The End Of Summer!

Image by Giani Pralea from Pixabay
Image by Giani Pralea from Pixabay
A couple of weeks ago we experienced what is known as an 'Indian Summer' and now the weather is becoming more realistic of autumn, with the nights drawing in and the evenings getting cooler.

An Indian summer is defined by the Met Office as a period of dry, warm weather occuring in autumn especially in October and November.

The Autumn Equinox in 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere is today Saturday 23 September, which means it is the first day of autumn according to the astronomical calendar. The winter solstice will be on Friday 22 December 2023.

Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash
Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash
If you follow the meteorological calendar then autumn began on the 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.

Why called Equinox?

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

Astronomical Seasons

Spring Equinox - 19/20 March
Summer Solstice - 20/21 June
Autumn Equinox - 20/21 September
Winter Solstice - 21/22 December

Meteorological Seasons

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:

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

Image by günter from Pixabay
Image by günter from Pixabay
What can we look forward to?

Well autumn is a very colourful month - thanks to the vibrant shades and tones of the leaves on the trees.

The leaves on the trees stop producing chlorophyll which gives them their green colour, thus allowing other pigmentations of hue to show through ranging from yellow, to orange to red.

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.

Image by Melanie from Pixabay
Image by Melanie from Pixabay
Some facts about autumn

Autumn used to be called Harvest because farmers harvest the fields.
In America autumn is known as 'fall' because leaves fall off the trees.
Squirrels are thought to become smarter in the autumn so that they can remember where they have stored the nuts and seeds for the winter.
Catching a falling leaf is supposed to bring good luck.
People living near the equator don't have an autumn season as the temperature stays the same most of the year.
Furry animals grow a thicker fur in autumn to keep them warm through the winter, often known as their winter coat.
More spiders are seen in the autumn as it is their mating season.
No film with autumn in the title has ever won an Oscar.
The full moon nearest to the Equinox is called the Harvest Moon.
According to a study, babies born in the autumn are supposed to live longer as they develop a greater immunity to colds and flu.

Image by 132369 from Pixabay
Image by 132369 from Pixabay
Some Autumn quotes:

“The heat of autumn is different from the heat of summer. One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.” - Jane Hirshfield, The Heat of Autumn

"Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple." - J.K Rowling

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” - Emily Brontë

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"If I were a bird, I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns.”- George Eliot

When do the clocks change:

photo by Stephen Hanafin
photo by Stephen Hanafin
In the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, and back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October.

The period when the clocks are 1 hour ahead is called British Summer Time (BST). There’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time).

When the clocks go back, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).