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Fall Equinox Arrives on Saturday

So long, summer. Saturday is the first official day of fall

With Friday having been the last day of summer 2012, fall is just hours away — and that means another fall (or autumnal) equinox, is coming on Saturday.

But what is the autumnal equinox? Most people don't quite know, so let Patch serve as the great explainer for all things equinoctial.

Equinoxes fall on the halfway point between solstices and occur, according to the Washington Post, "when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of roughly equal length, everywhere in the world."

The nearly equal 12 hours of light and darkness can be attributed to the Earth's lack of an axial tilt on the day of the equinox. In fact, the word equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night.

In Northern California on the autumnal equinox, according to sunrisesunset.com, the sun will come up at 6:57 a.m. and set at 7:07 p.m. As you notice, that is not actually a perfect 12 hours of light and darkness. As timeanddate.com reports, this is because of issues such as light refraction and other reasons.

The exact moment of the autumnal equinox this year is 2:49 p.m., Coordinated Universal Time, or 7:49 a.m. here

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