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Fall's Start, Separate and Unequal

Now that the fall equinox has come and gone - officially at 7-29 yesterday evening - daylight in Spokane has now shrunk to less than 12 hours as we plunge toward the winter solstice. Right? Well, not quite...

Although the celestial equinox is supposed to be the moment when daylight and dark hours are equal, in Spokane and environs, it's close, but not exact. Monday's day length was actually 12-hours, 10 minutes and 39 seconds.

In fact, our day parts are not equalized until this coming Thursday, after we lose just over three minutes of daylight each day. From then on, the dark hours are in the ascendancy until December 21st, at 3-03 in the afternoon our time, when the sun stops its apparent southward slide.

There's another complication to all this - twilight. In Spokane, we have three twilights - the civil, starting just before 7 pm, the nautical, at a few minutes past 7, and the astronomical twilight starting a few minutes before 9.

Oh, and by the way, meteorologists - weather folks - already marked the beginning of fall 23 days ago. In their view, fall begins on September 1st - although it didn't feel much like it - and it ends on November 30th. Winter begins the next day.

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