Autumn: Ten astronomical curiosities about the season that has just begun

Autumn: Ten astronomical curiosities about the season that has just begun

On Tuesday, at 3:31 p.m., Spanish peninsular time, the new season begins, which will last 89 days

Autumn: Ten astronomical curiosities about the season that has just begun

Autumn is here, we show you 10 astronomical curiosities to enjoy the sky during the harvest season.

-The autumn of the Northern Hemisphere (and spring in the South) will begin on Tuesday, September 22 at 3:31 p.m. peninsular time (2:31 p.m. in the Canary Islands).

-The first full moon of this fall will take place on October 1 in the constellation of Cetus (The Whale). This full moon, the closest to the equinox, is often called 'Harvest Moon', since the light of this full moon allowed the harvesting tasks typical of this time of year to be extended to the night.

-Summer time will end on Sunday, October 25. That day, at 3 am (2 am in the Canary Islands) the time change will take place, and we will have to set the clocks until 2 am (1 am in the Canary Islands).

-In the autumn evenings, Jupiter and Saturn will remain visible, increasingly close to each other, until they are almost superimposed (in the same line of sight) on December 21

-The sunrises will be dominated by the splendid glow of Venus. During much of the night the reddish Mars will look super bright as it will be in opposition on October 13.

-None of the two eclipses that will take place during the fall will be visible from Spain. The first of these is a modest penumbral lunar eclipse that will be observable on November 30 from America, Oceania and Asia. The second, much more interesting, is a total of Sol that can be enjoyed on December 14 from part of South America, Antarctica and the adjacent oceans.

-The most substantial meteor showers of the autumn , the Leonids and the Geminids, will take place in magnificent conditions for observation as the Moon will not be an obstacle this year. Indeed, the Leonids will reach their maximum activity around November 17, just two days after the new moon, while the Geminids will have their maximum on December 13, that is, the day before the new moon.

-At the equinox , the two poles of the Earth are at the same distance from the Sun and only an exact half of the Earth is illuminated. On that day the Sun rises exactly at the East point and sets exactly at the West point.

-At the Earth's poles the day of the equinox is very special. At the North Pole, you go from a period of 6 months by day to a period of 6 months at night. There, on the 23rd, the Sun will be seen for 12 hours as a half grazing disk on the horizon that hides and will not be seen again until the spring equinox.

-This fall will last 89 days and 20 hours . It will end on December 21 with the beginning of winter, a date that will be marked by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

Rafael Bachiller is director of the National Astronomical Observatory (National Geographic Institute) and academic of the Royal Academy of Doctors of Spain.

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