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Long Summers Getting Longer

 

Frazier AllenClarksville, TN – The autumnal equinox, or the official beginning of fall, occurs on September 22nd at 10:49am on the East Coast and 7:49am on the West Coast. When fall finally arrives this year, it will bring to an end a summer that was longer than the year before. And in 2013, the same will be true.

In fact, our summers here in North America have been getting a little longer each year and will continue to do so until about the year 3500.

Even though our year is divided into four seasons, they are not all the same length in days. In 2012, winter (which actually began in 2011) was 88.994 days long; spring was 92.758 days; summer is 93.651 days; and, fall will be 89.842 days.

But because the Earth’s path around the Sun is not a perfect circle, our planet is not in the exact same spot every year when we reach the spring and fall equinoxes or the winter and summer solstices. As a result, spring is currently being reduced by approximately one minute per year and winter by about half a minute per year.

So where does that time go? Fall actually gains the half-minute lost from winter, and summer is gaining the full minute lost from spring. And it will continue to gain a minute a year until summer will be roughly one day longer than it is today.

According to astronomers, at that point, the time loss/gain cycle will reverse until summer’s extra day is redistributed to the other three seasons. Until then, be sure to stock up on the sunscreen.


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