The Fall Equinox, Spring Down Under
I’m always fascinated by astronomy and the workings of the universe. The Fall Equinox, is September 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere (everything north of the equator) while my friends down-under in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing The Spring Equinox. Yet we both live on planet earth. I’m headed into Fall, they’re headed into Spring.
Here are some facts about the Equinoxes:
1. The Autumn and Spring Equinoxes occur when the center of the sun’s disk crosses that imaginary line called the celestial equator.
2. The sun rises directly east and sets directly west only on the Fall Equinox and the Spring Equinox.
3. These two days also mark the only days when the sun is directly overhead for anyone standing on the equator.
4. A person on the North Pole will see the sun skim across the horizon on the Autumnal Equinox, marking the beginning of 6 months of darkness.
5. On that same day, a person standing at the South Pole will see the sun skim along the horizon, marking 6 months of uninterrupted daylight.
6. The word, “Equinox” is Latin, made up of the word “aequus” meaning “equal” and “nox”, meaning “night”.
7. Those closest to the equator will have the most equal amount of daylight and nightlight. It will be close to 12 hours of daylight, 12 hours of darkness.
I’m a Mormon and it is interesting to note that Joseph Smith first saw the gold plates with Moroni on the Hill Cumorah on September 22, 1823; and each year thereafter he visited the site on the autumnal equinox until he received the plates from Moroni, on September 22, 1827 (which happened to be Rosh ha-Shahna as well in 1827).
Featured photo: From the 1708 reprint of the 1661 Cellarius Atlas Harmonia Macrocosmica, depicting the christianized constellations by Julius Schiller, showing the hemisphere with the autumnal equinox point.
Joseph Smith photo: C.C.A. Christensen’s painting of Joseph Smith receiving the Golden Plates from the Angel Moroni at the Hill Cumorah. Entitled “The Hill Cumorah”. Print Engraving: 1893 Edward Stevenson.