Summer is officially coming to an end. 

Elizabeth Preske
September 19, 2018

 

No matter how much you like fall hikes, Halloween festivities, and visits to the apple orchard, the recent cold snap and early launch of pumpkin spice lattes may have you wondering where summer ran off to (and if you should feel that guilty about ordering that PSL).

Soon, you can embrace the season — and the warm boots, scarves, and cozy sweaters that come with it — without having to wonder if you're cheating on summer: This weekend marks the official start of fall.

When is the first day of fall?

The last day of summer is also the same as the first day of fall: Saturday, September 22. The first minute of fall, however, varies by time zone.

What is the Autumn equinox?

Also known as the Autumnal equinox and the fall equinox, the Autumn equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator. According to The Farmer's Almanac, both the Southern and Northern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunshine at this time, and day and night are of nearly equal length. The Northern Hemisphere will start seeing shorter days and longer nights, whereas the Southern Hemisphere will see a reversal in seasons due to the Earth's tilt.

When does the Autumn equinox happen in 2018?

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Central Time: If you live in Chicago or anywhere else in the Central Time Zone, expect the equinox at 8:54 p.m. CDT.

Eastern Time: New York City, Boston, and other cities in the Eastern Time Zone will see the equinox at 9:54 p.m. EDT.

Pacific Time: The first minute of fall in Los Angeles, Seattle, and other Pacific Time Zone cities is at 6:54 p.m. PDT.

Mountain Time: Cities in the Mountain Time Zone, like Denver and Phoenix, will experience the equinox at 7:54 p.m. MDT.

When do we fall back in 2018?

In 2018, Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 4, so you have a few more weeks before you need to change your clocks and get that extra hour of sleep.

Autumn equinox astrology

On the Autumn equinox, the sun astrologically enters into the zodiac sign Libra. Her balanced scales mark the equal length of day and night on the first day of fall, as well as signify a need to balance the body, mind, and spirit with self care.

Over time, the equinox has inspired ancient mythologies and religious and cultural celebrations. In Greek mythology, fall happens when the harvest goddess Demeter refuses to use her horticultural skills during her daughter’s annual trip to the underworld. Chinese and Vietnamese communities ring in fall with a Moon Festival, complete with mooncakes, lotus, and duck eggs. Japan, on the other hand, celebrates fall with Higan, a Buddhist celebration that invites people to remember loved ones who have passed.

Related: The Trip You Should Take This Fall, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

When and where to see fall foliage in 2018

Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

While you might be sad to see your days at the pool come to an end, fall invites a whole host of fun activity for leaf peepers. Whether you are planning to camp at a national park or take a train trip through New England, this fall foliage map will tell you when the leaves peak in every U.S. county so you can see the fall colors in all their glory.

Of course, New England is not the only destination worth seeing this season. For a less conventional fall venture, why not head to Nevada, or even further afield to Wales or Croatia?

So say goodbye to 90 degree weather, pick up a pumpkin spice coffee, and get ready to embark on an unbeliefable adventure: Fall is finally here.

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