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If fall starts tonight, why does Google say Tuesday?

Fall Equinox start time
Posted at 2:12 PM, Sep 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-22 10:37:17-04

MIDWAY, Fla. (WTXL) -- Many people in the South have been anticipating the arrival of autumn-like weather.  We received a taste of it one day early, when lows dipped well into the 60s early Sunday.

The official start of fall coincides with the autumnal equinox, the time when the sun's direct rays shine at a 90° angle on the earth's equator.  It is set to occur locally at 10:29 p.m. Monday.  However, the go-to online source for information, the Google search engine, may tell you something different.

Both Monday 10:29 p.m. local time and Tuesday, Sept. 23, are correct.

You likely received the result of Google's search answer as a result of the equinox being measured in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the standard of international time measurement.  UTC, also called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Zulu time (Z), is recorded along the Prime Meridian (0° longitude), which runs through the town of Greenwich, England, the site of the Royal Observatory.

The equinox, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory and many other sources, will occur at 02:29 UTC Tuesday.  This is the same as 10:29 p.m. Monday Eastern Daylight Time.

South Georgia and most of north Florida east of the Apalachicola River are currently in Eastern Daylight Time, which runs four hours behind UTC.