BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Autumnal Equinox marks the beginning of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere.
This equinox will happen in California this Friday, Sept. 22 at 11:50 p.m., meaning Saturday is our first full day of the season.
During an equinox, the sun shines directly over the equator resulting in nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world – except for the North and South Pole, where the sun approximately straddles the horizon for the entire day.
Following the autumnal equinox, the sun gradually continues to rise later and set earlier in the Northern Hemisphere – making the days shorter and the nightfall longer.
The astronomical seasons are caused by Earth’s tilted axis, which always points in the same direction. So, as Earth orbits around the Sun, the angle of sunlight that the Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive is different.
However, meteorological seasons are guided by annual temperature cycles. Meteorologists group the seasons into time periods that line up with the weather and monthly calendar: December through February is winter, March through May is spring, June through August is summer, and September through November is fall.
So the question is, when will it start to look like fall outside with the changing colors of the leaves?
For some, the leaves may have already started changing color. For others, it won’t be long until the trees combust into reds, yellows, oranges and browns. In just a few weeks, some parts of the country will be seeing peak fall colors, according to a new prediction map.
Right now, the majority of New England and Michigan should begin to see the leaves change, however, it won’t be until mid-October that the majority of the trees in the U.S. will be at or near peak.
Here in central and southern California, our peak is usually in early November.