Fall facts

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - THE GREEN PAGE -

It’s a sea­son with two names, fall and au­tumn. Fall has been in use for 500 years or more, when peo­ple de­scribed au­tumn as the time when the leaves fell. It stuck. Mer­riam Web­ster online says the roots of au­tumn are only a lit­tler older and come from the Mid­dle English “au­tumpne,” from Latin “au­tum­nus.” Its first known use was in the 14th cen­tury.

Day­light sav­ings time: spring for­ward, fall back, right? This year the of­fi­cial date to turn back clocks in most of Canada is 2 a.m. Nov. 3. First sug­gested by Ben­jamin Franklin in 1784, day­light sav­ings has as much to do with sav­ing elec­tric heat and light as any­thing else. So not sur­pris­ingly, most coun­tries waited un­til elec­tric­ity came in to jump on DST. That means the wide­spread use of DST didn’t hap­pen un­til af­ter the First World War.

As an en­ergy sav­ing mea­sure, U.S. Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Bush ex­tended day­light sav­ing time by four weeks in 2007.

Au­tumn equinox, like spring equinox, is the ce­les­tial phe­nom­e­non that hap­pens when the sun is di­rectly in line with the Earth’s equa­tor. The date varies from year to year be­cause the earth trav­els around the sun in a slight wonky or­bit.

When the equinox oc­curs, it means day and night are roughly equal, 12 hours of day­light, 12 hours of dark­ness. But some ex­perts still de­bate the tim­ing and in­sist day and night are di­vided equally four days af­ter the equinox passes.

Some ex­perts say north­ern lights are re­ally bet­ter in the fall than in the win­ter, be­cause the ge­o­mag­netic storms that trig­ger the aurora bo­re­alis are twice as fre­quent in the fall.

Fall gets its own full moon, the Har­vest Moon, the full moon clos­est to the fall equinox. It was tra­di­tion­ally called the har­vest moon af­ter the habit of farm­ers who use it to har­vest their crops.

The rea­son it looks so big this time of year has to do with the full moon’s path around the Earth. At fall equinox, the an­gle of the moon changes on the hori­zon and it rises ear­lier in the evening, usu­ally by 20 min­utes or so. The ef­fect is called the moon il­lu­sion. Dust and clouds close to the hori­zon give the moon it’s Hal­loween glow.

Best of all: Mild days and cool nights mean NO BUGS.

Sources in­clude: http://www.lives­cience. com/39847-au­tumn-equinox­fact­shttp://news.dis­cov­ery.com/ space/facts-about-har­vest­moon

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