Skywatch: We welcome a new season this week.

Skywatch: We welcome a new season this week.
The Fastest Sunsets Happen around the Equinox

If the sunsets appear to be happening faster this week you’re not imagining things. Equinoxes see the fastest sunsets, and sunrises, while the slowest sunsets, and sunrises, happen around the solstices. The reason why the sun sets faster around the equinox is because it’s setting at a steeper angle and therefore setting faster. Sunrises and sunsets on the equinox happen pretty much due east and due west on the equinox. In fact the sun will set in roughly 2 minutes 45 seconds on the equinoxes. On the solstice it takes roughly 3 minutes 15 seconds for that same sunset.

The Fall Equinox

Speaking of the equinox it’ll arrive early Monday morning at 3:50 a.m. The autumnal or fall equinox occurs when the sun is directly overhead at the equator. This means that summer is officially over and you’ve likely noticed the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer in recent weeks.

The Lunar Perigee

The lunar perigee happens on Friday night at 10:24 p.m. That’s the point in the moon’s orbit when it’s closest to the Earth. At that time our satellite will be a mere 222,328 miles away from us.

The New Supermoon

Normally the lunar perigee isn’t a big deal (we get one a month). But this month’s perigee coincides with the New Moon which arrives at 2:26 p.m. on Saturday. Because the New Moon is so close to the perigee we can call it a Supermoon. It sets about 25 minutes after the sun sets so you might be able to catch a glimpse of it in the western sky if you have a clear view of the horizon and you’re far from the city lights. Happy hunting!