Today is the first day of fall. Here are five things about the season of football, apples and Halloween:
1. The first day of fall is also the second equinox of the year, when the Earth's axis is not pointed toward or away from the Sun. The exact moment of the equinox took place at about 4:04 a.m. today. There will be approximately equal amounts of day and night today.
2. Until December 22, days will be getting shorter and nights will get longer. Trees will stop performing photosynthesis, which is what causes the leaves to lose their green color.
3. Modern Halloween has its origins in the Celtic holiday at the end of the annual harvest, similar to an ancient Thanksgiving. Carving pumpkins didn't become a part of the holiday until the 19th century.
4. Apples are a fall favorite, but there are many other local crops that peak in the fall. According to the state Department of Agriculture, New Jersey is the third largest producer of spinach, fourth largest producer of bell pepers and ninth largest producer of squash in the country.
5. The National Weather Center is predicting rain all weekend, including some possible thunderstorms tonight. The Eastern Christian Children's Retreat Country Fair scheduled for Saturday has been postponed until October 1.