What Is The Winter Solstice?

BRITAIN is currently gripped by a heatwave and the weather is showing no signs of abating.

Those of us who are looking forward to cooler times might wonder when the seasons officially change... Here's all you need to know...

 The are two different dates that are used to mark the beginning of autumn>Getty - Contributor>3
The are two different dates that are used to mark the beginning of autumn

When does summer end and autumn start in 2018?

There are two different dates that mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

These depend if you are referring to astronomical autumn or the meteorological autumn.

For meteorologists, summer came to an end on Thursday, August 31 and autumn began on Friday, September 1, running until Thursday, November 30.

But astronomers say summer ends on September 22 in the northern hemisphere and autumn begins on Friday, September 23.

 Meteorologist say autumn begins on September 1 but astronomers say it starts on September 23>Getty - Contributor>3
Meteorologist say autumn begins on September 1 but astronomers say it starts on September 23

How is the date for autumn 2018 decided?

Both astronomers and meteorologists use different ways in deciding when the seasons change.

For meteorologists, they use the Gregorian calendar to split the year into four equal periods to help them with weather forecasting.

This means they define autumn as taking place in September, October and November - so for them, autumn begins on September 1 and runs until November 30.

But astronomers base their seasons on celestial events, and for autumn, the date is decided when the hours of daylight and darkness are roughly the same.

This usually occurs around September 21-23 in the northern hemisphere, and astronomers believe the first day of autumn lies within this region.


There is also a third way of determining when autumn starts that is used by people who study phenology - plant and animal life cycles.

They look to changes in the natural world to determine seasons changing such as leaves changing colours and autumn fruits ripening.

But this relies more on weather, so the date for this can be open and change vastly each year.

Meteorological calendar of the seasons

  • Spring: March, April, May
  • Summer: June, July, August
  • Autumn: September, October, November
  • Winter: December, January, February

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When does the autumnal equinox take place in 2018?

This year the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere takes place on Sunday, September 23 - the same day as the beginning of astronomical autumn.

The autumn equinox marks the day when the northern hemisphere slightly tilts away from the sun, meaning days become shorter and the temperature begins to cool.

This carries on until the winter solstice until the northern hemisphere begins to tip back towards the sun on its axis.

The end of autumn officially falls on Friday, December 21.

Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4144147/autumn-start-summer-end-2018-equinox/

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