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Weather Talk: Don't expect anything spectacular from today's equinox

The autumnal equinox occurs Friday, Sept. 22, at 3:02 p.m. Nothing particularly spectacular happens at that time. There is nothing strange or peculiar about the force of gravity. Tides behave normally. If we lived right on the equator, the sun wo...

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The autumnal equinox occurs Friday, Sept. 22, at 3:02 p.m. Nothing particularly spectacular happens at that time. There is nothing strange or peculiar about the force of gravity. Tides behave normally. If we lived right on the equator, the sun would be directly overhead at solar noon. But we do not live on the equator so that fails. Even the day and night are not exactly equal. This is because the sun is big enough so that light from the top of the sun created daylight before the middle of the sun rises and, in the evening, the same thing happens in reverse. Also, the atmosphere refracts light so that it is bent around the Earth a bit. Actually we get about 10 minutes more light today than darkness tonight. The main thing that happens is that the plane of Earth's equator passes through the center of the sun's disk, marking the beginning of astronomical autumn.

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