Autumn Arrives Along with a Bright Light

Saturday, September 22nd 2007, 5:25 pm
By: News On 6

The autumn season officially arrives at 4:51AM on Sunday morning, at that time the sun is direcly above the equator. Go here for a more complete description of the autumn season. If the world were perfectly round, there would be equal amounts of sunllight everywhere at that time.

Fall also begins with a bright light in the sky:
MAXIMUM VENUS: In a celestial coincidence of eye-catching proportions, Venus (the "morning star") reaches maximum brightness on Sept. 23rd, the autumnal equinox. In short, northern fall is beginning with a bright light in the dawn sky. Venus is actually bright enough to see in broad daylight, but easier to find just before sunrise. Wake up early any morning in the week ahead and look east for the brilliant light of Venus.

Bonus: Like the Moon, Venus has phases, and at the moment the planet has assumed the form of a slender crescent. If you have a backyard telescope, take a look!

AURORA SEASON BEGINS: For reasons not fully understood, the weeks around the autumnal equinox produce, on average, more geomagnetic storms than any other time of year. Even the mildest solar wind stream brushing against Earth can ignite auroras. Earth is inside a high-speed solar wind stream this weekend and another is due on Sept. 27th or 28th. High latitude sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights. (Tip: Local midnight is often the best time to watch.)

Visit for sky maps, photos and more.