Pumpkin spice has already made a reappearance and flannels are starting to retake Instagram stories, but the official start of fall will not begin until summer ends at 8:54 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. The autumnal (or fall) equinox occurs when the sun intersects with the celestial equator, which runs around the circumference of the earth halfway between the celestial poles.
During this time “we get exactly 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night, and for us in the Northern Hemisphere, those hours of day will slip away to hours of night as the year progresses,” said Wade Roemer, a senior astrophysics major at the University of Louisville.
However, the opposite is true for people in the Southern Hemisphere, and “this process will reverse itself once we reach the point in our orbit known as the vernal equinox,” said Roemer. The vernal (or spring) equinox is the official start of spring and will occur on March 20, 2019.
During fall equinox, the sun’s position can cause damage to certain technology and slow Netflix streams.
Many satellites stationed in geostationary orbits around the Equator will have the sun’s full radiation directly on them. This can damage the satellites and overwhelm their signal outputs according to National Geographic. This can lead to an interruption in data flow. These events are called sun outages.
Since many communication satellites orbit at the equator, sun outages can cause slow streaming speeds and interference on television. This event lasts as long as the sun and satellites are in alignment, which can be up to 15 minutes a day over the span of a few days according to CenturyLink Prism TV website. Once the sun moves out of alignment with the satellites, the interference ends and the data transmissions continue as normal.
And so, after a proper mourning period for summer, the internet will return and be ready to receive all of autumn’s plaid pics and pumpkin posts as soon as fall officially starts.