orry, sun worshippers — but summer’s pretty much over. Colder weather and darker mornings are creeping their way back in as autumn gets ready to return.
While some people will mourn the warm summer months, others will be looking forward to getting cosy.
In fact, following this summer’s heatwave, many people may welcome the cooler temperatures with open arms and a mug of hot chocolate.
If you’re happy to see the back of summer — or you want to make the most of the last free days of the season — find out how much time we have left before the official start of autumn.
When does autumn start?
Autumn begins in September, but the date depends on whether you follow the astronomical or the meteorological calendar, as they measure the seasons differently.
When is the astronomical autumn?
The astronomical calendar is based on the position of the Sun in relation to the Earth.
The Met Office explains that: “The astronomical calendar determines the seasons due to the 23.5 degrees of tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the Sun.”
This year, autumn starts on September 22 and ends on December 21.
When is the meteorological autumn?
Meteorological seasons split the year into four seasons each made up of three months.
The meteorological seasons are defined as spring (March, April, May), summer (June, July, August), autumn (September, October, November) and winter (December, January, February).
According to the meteorological season, autumn starts on September 1 and ends on November 30.
When is the autumn equinox?
The autumn equinox marks the start of the season, so it will take place on September 22.
Equinoxes mark the start of spring and autumn, while solstices mark the start of summer and winter.
“On the autumn equinox, day and night are of roughly equal length and the nights will become increasingly longer than the days,” explains the Met Office, “until the spring equinox, when the pattern is reversed.”
“It also marks the time of year when the northern hemisphere begins to tilt away from the Sun, resulting in less direct sunlight and consequently the cooling temperatures.”