After all, it’s fall!

I love this fall shot from click2houston.com
I love this fall shot from click2houston.com

You woke up to it, didn’t you!? Amazing fall weather that I’ve promised you since last week! Welcome to fall (which I really think should be capitalized Fall, but that’s a different argument). Anyway, fall technically falls today at 2:21 p.m. in Houston, known as the Autumnal Equinox. By most people’s understanding, this is the day of equal daylight and equal darkness.

Not quite.

The Fall Equinox (you can capitalize ‘fall’ when using it with other proper nouns) refers to the sun being directly over the earth’s equator as it travels from the Northern Hemisphere providing our warm days to the Southern Hemisphere where it will bring them warmer days. Given that the sun is directly over the equator, you’d think equal sun and darkness would fall on this day, but it doesn’t. In fact, Houston’s sunrise today was 7:10am and our sunset it at 7:17 p.m. Why is this? In short, because even after the sun goes below the horizon, we still see it (and get its daylight effect) due to light refraction. Here is a perfect example of ‘seeing’ the sun even though it has already dropped below the horizon:

We still see the sun even though it has gone below the horizon courtesy bigstockphoto.com and timeanddate.com

Consequently, even on this day most locations still see a bit of extra daylight.

So when does Houston get its equinox?

The equal day and night thing still happens, but not for us until Sept. 26, which is when we actually experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Our sunrise then is 7:12 a.m. and our sunset is 7:12 p.m. That’s this Sunday, by the way:

Sept 26 Houston has a sunrise of 7:12am and sunset of 7:12pm courtesy timeanddate.com

Bottom Line

Regardless of this slight glitch in the equinox, there is nothing like our weather into the weekend to remind us that we do get fall:

Here is what fall really means!

And that, my friends, is a Fabulous Fall Forecast and that is just capital!

Enjoy!

Frank

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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.