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When Does Autumn Start?
Jan Harris, Assistant Editor
Autumn colours
When does autumn start depends on whether you are referring to the astronomical or meteorological autumn.

We often talk about it beginning to feel like autumn when the nights start to draw in and the temperatures begin to drop with it starting to feel cooler.

Autumn leaves
The leaves start turning yellow to deep orange and then to brown. Autumn is a time when we pack away the sunglasses and look for our scarves, gloves and other winter clothing.

This year I don't think we can complain as we have had a record-breaking summer, but when is the first day of autumn and what is the Autumn equinox?

The meteorological autumn is Saturday 1 September and is the official start of autumn.

Meteorological seasons:

The meteorological seasons are different as 1 September is the start of autumn. This is because meteorologists like to divide the year into four equal parts.

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

Autumn mist - photo by Steve Wilson
Astronomical seasons:

However some astronomers say that the first day of Autumn 2018 according to the astronomical autumn will be on Sunday 23 September in the northern hemisphere.

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This is worked out as being when the hours of darkness and daylight are almost the same.

An equinox is when the length of the day and night are equal. The days become shorter and in the northern hemisphere it is determined based on the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth during its rotational axis.

Solstices are midway between these, when the sun is at its highest and lowest in the sky at mid-day.

Autumn will then last until 21 December just before winter followed by (dare I mention) Christmas. As the calendar moves towards winter the days get shorter and the nights get longer.

Spring - 20 March 2018
Summer - 21 June 2018
Autumn - 23 September 2018
Winter - 21 December 2018

Pumpkins
Favourite things about autumn:

Back to school
Apple picking
Forage for blackberries
Walk in the woods and marvel at changing colours of the leaves
Go to Church for harvest festival
Make pumpkin or butternut squash soup
Look for conkers
Apple bobbing
Halloween
Bonfire night
Remembrance Sunday
British Summer Time ends on Sunday, 28 October - photo by Michael Garnett
Build up to Christmas

When do the clocks go back?

British Summer Time will come to an end on Sunday, 28 October when the clocks go back one hour at 2am and GMT resumes - meaning another hour for us in bed in the UK.

When Does Autumn Start?, 31st August 2018, 21:00 PM