Thursday, September 22^{nd} of this year will be the Autumnal Equinox. It is the time of year when the imaginary plane that might pass through the Earth's Equator would also travel through the center of the Sun. At this auspicious moment the number of sunlight hours and night time hours are about the same all over the Earth. In the Northern Hemisphere we move into the Fall season.

We love the seasons and Ecliptic animation from the Magic of Physics site. Below is a screen shot of the applet. By clicking on the link, a new window will open and students, or the teacher using a projector, can change the position of the person on the globe and other variables to enjoy a discussion of this auspicious moment.

Seasons_and_Ecliptic_Simulator

We have three possible activities for you to use in your classrooms after playing with the Nebraska applet.

- autumnal-equinox-deducing-from-chart2016.pdf - What can you deduce about the Autumnal Equinox from this line graph?
- autumnal-equinox-3-latitudes2016.pdf How are the daylight hours of these three latitudes different and the same?
- autumnal-equinox-using-trig2016.pdf Calculate daylight hours for any latitude with a formula involving trigonometry.
- daylight-hours-N40.xlsx Spreadsheet and charts for various latitudes.

CCSS: 5.G.A.2, 7.G.A.3, 8.SP, HSG.MG.A.1

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My students loved this activity. They were amazed by the Seasons and Ecliptic Simulator. My area will experience a total eclipse in August of 2017. Hope you are planning an amazing lesson to go along with this historic event.

Thanks Alicia for the great feedback! We will have to think about the math around the solar eclipse and get an activity going. Thanks for the head up on that.