THE long, hot summer is now a distant memory as sizzling temperatures were replaced by freezing winter nights. But when exactly does the winter season start, and why are there two possible dates? When does winter start? Meteorological winter In calendar terms, winter begins on December 1 and ends on February 28 (or 29 February on leap years). This is also known as the meteorological winter. However traditions in some countries can alter this definition. In Scandinavia, winter in one tradition begins on 14 October and ends on the last day of February. But normally the seasons are divided in three-month chunks as follows: winter is December-February, spring is March-May, summer is June-August, and autumn is September-November. This is of course flipped on its head in Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, where winter is 1 June to 31 August. Astronomical winter The astronomical season depends on the date of the winter solstice, meaning the … [Read more...] about When does winter 2018 start, why are there two possible dates and what’s the shortest day of the year?
Summer equinox 2018
MILLIONS of people craned their necks upward to watch the rare Harvest Moon lunar eclipse in 2016. The natural phenomenon causes the moon to look bigger and darker. But was there an eclipse in 2018? What is the Harvest Moon? The Harvest Moon occurs every year. It is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox (when the sun moves from the northern to the southern half of the sky, signalling the start of autumn in the UK). This usually means it’s the September full moon, but it sometimes falls in early October. The full harvest moon rises at sunset for several nights in a row, making it seem like there is a full moon for several days running. Why is it called the Harvest Moon? The Harvest Moon occurs at the start of autumn – just when farmers were traditionally beginning to harvest the crops they had been growing throughout spring and summer. The bright moonlight from the giant moon helped the harvest crews to see. This allowed them to work later. What made … [Read more...] about Harvest Moon 2018 – when was it, what is a lunar eclipse and why is it so rare?
THE four seasons which boast an array of beautiful environmental changes in their own right exist because of the Earth's changing distance from the sun. Equinox and solstice mark our transition through the different seasons. We give you the full lowdown. What's the difference between an equinox and a solstice? The equinox in the Northern hemisphere occurs twice a year around spring and autumn. It is the time the plane of Earth's equator passes through the centre of the sun's disc. The solstice marks summer and winter seasons. It is the times when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon. This marks the longest and shortest days. The spring equinox usually takes place around March 20, marking the beginning of spring, when days are longer than nighttime. The autumn equinox marks the start of autumn, as night becomes longer than the day. This usually takes place around September 22. The solstice also occurs twice a year, but in the form of summer and winter. Summer … [Read more...] about What’s the difference between a solstice and an equinox and what are the dates in 2018?