Farmers Almanac
The Farmers Almanac
Order your copy today!

Fall Equinox – When Is the First Day of Fall? (2020)

Child Playing with Leaves During Fall (Autumnal Equinox)

When Is The First Day of Fall in 2020?

Fall arrives on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 9:31 a.m. EDT.

What Is The Fall Equinox?

In mid-September each year, we greet the fall season with the arrival of the fall equinox (also known as the autumnal equinox). This is the moment when the Sun crosses the Equator, and those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere will begin to see more darkness than daylight. Regardless of whether it has been chilly for weeks or there are still balmy summer-like temperatures, this is the start of astronomical fall. This is different from “meteorological fall,” which began on September 1st. Read more about it here.

At this point, the Earth’s tilt is moving away from its maximum lean toward the Sun; its rays are aiming directly at the equator.

The autumnal (fall) equinox marks the turning point when darkness begins to win out over daylight. Essentially, our hours of daylight—the period of time each day between sunrise and sunset — have been growing slightly shorter each day since the summer solstice in June, which is the longest day of the year (at least in terms of daylight).  Then, for the next three months, our hours of daylight will continue to grow shorter. At the autumnal equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin word aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night.  An equinox occurs twice a year (autumnal and vernal).

Read: What’s the difference between an equinox and a solstice?

Everywhere you look, you can see the visible changes as nature prepares for winter: birds are flying south, temperatures are getting cooler, leaves are changing colors, and animals’ coats are thickening, to name a few.

In mid-December, we will experience the winter solstice, which will mark the shortest day of the year in terms of hours of daylight.

After the winter solstice, the days will begin to grow longer again. It will take another three months, until the Vernal Equinox (also called the spring equinox) for the periods of daylight and darkness to reach equilibrium once again.

From the vernal equinox, the days will continue to grow longer, until we reach the summer solstice again, and the whole cycle begins anew!

What’s in store for fall? See our official forecast here.

See when fall foliage peaks in your state!

Shop for Related Products on Amazon

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

Reading Farmers' Almanac on Tablet with Doggie

Don't Miss A Thing!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter and Get a FREE Download!