There are two equinoxes every year – in September and March – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.
Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, so the equinox in September is also known as the “autumnal (fall) equinox” in the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, it’s known as the “spring (vernal) equinox”.
What happens during an equinox?
The September equinox occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south. This happens either on September 22, 23, or 24 every year.
Equinoxes and solstices from 2000–2049
The Earth’s axis is always tilted at an angle of about 23.5° in relation to the ecliptic, the imaginary plane created by the Earth’s path around the Sun. However, the tilt’s orientation changes throughout the year. On any other day of the year, the Earth’s axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth’s axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun and is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays, like the illustration shows.
Why is it called equinox?
On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night.” However, even if this is widely accepted, it isn’t entirely true. In reality equinoxes don’t have exactly 12 hours of daylight.
Celebrate with Apples….
Recipe for Apple Butter
Yield: 10 pints
- 9 quarts of applesauce
- 2 cups apple cider
- 3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. ground cloves
- 1 Tbsp. nutmeg
- 3 cups sugar (or more if you like sweet apple butter)
You can make this recipe with homemade or store-bought applesauce. Homemade tastes far better, so if you’ve never made your own applesauce, check out the Applesauce recipe.
- Fill a crock pot with as much applesauce as it takes to bring you about an inch from the top — this will NOT hold all of the applesauce, unless you have a REALLY big crock pot, but that’s okay. It should take about half the applesauce if you use a 5-quart crock.
- Add 1 C. of the cider, half the cinnamon, half the cloves and nutmeg, and 1 1/2 C. of the sugar. Set the crock pot on Low, and cover. Allow the applesauce to cook on low setting for about 8 – 12 hours.
- Around the 10-hour point, check the amount of applesauce in the pot. It should have reduced significantly by now, so add in the remaining quarts of applesauce, spices, cider and sugar. Mix thoroughly to blend with the applesauce that’s already in the pot, and allow to simmer for a few more hours, until the applesauce has reduced to a nice, thick brown apple butter Optional – use a hand-held mixer to blend the apple butter into a creamy, smooth texture.
- Finally, can the apple butter using the following steps: Home Canning Basics, so you’ll have apple butter that lasts for months in your pantry.
- Serve your apple butter with a loaf of warm, soft bread, or eat it straight from the jar!