Twice each year the Earth experiences an equinox. The autumnal equinox will be Sept. 22. These are times when the sun is located directly above the equator, and the days and nights are equal lengths. This year, on that date in Houston, the sun rises at 7:12 a.m. and sets at 7:13 p.m. The exact time of the equinox is 3:21 p.m. This marks the beginning of autumn for those in the northern hemisphere.

This is all part of the normal cycles of the solar system. It is based on our location in our elliptical orbit around the sun and the Earth’s axial tilt. As the Earth orbits the sun, our axis of rotation (think the North Pole) always points to Polaris, the North Star.

The Observatory will not be open for a public night in September due to the current COVID-19 resurgence. We will evaluate the situation for future events. 

Aaron Clevenson
Author: Aaron ClevensonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the observatory director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD. I am also an adjunct astronomy professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery where I teach solar system astronomy and stars and galaxies astronomy. I am the author of the astronomy textbook, “Astronomy for Mere Mortals.” I am a past president of the North Houston Astronomy Club, and was the chair of Astronomy Day in Southeast Texas in 2015 and 2016. He is an observing program director with The Astronomical League, coordinates their Master Observer Progression Awards, and has authored six of their observing programs.

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