Vernal Equinox

Spring Equinox, Longer Days Ahead!

Spring Equinox is one of two days each year when Earth is tilted so that the Sun is directly over the equator.  In North America, the days have been growing longer since the Winter Solstice.  Finally, on the Spring (Vernal) Equinox, day is equal to night.  Equinox literally means “equal night”.  On this day the Sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.  In the Northern Hemisphere spring begins!

Spring Equinox

 

Equinox and Solstice

The Spring Equinox is halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice.  Winter Solstice is when the Northern Hemisphere is most tilted away from the Sun.  Summer Solstice is when the North Hemisphere is most tilted toward the Sun.  Winter Solstice is about December 21 and is the Northern Hemisphere’s shortest day.  Summer Solstice is about June 21 and the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day.  Halfway between the shortest day and the longest day is the Spring Equinox (about March 21) and the Fall Equinox (about September 22).

Spring Equinox

 

Spring Equinox in Southern Hemisphere

In the Southern Hemisphere, think opposite.  The Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.  The Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.  The two equinoxes are still halfway between the two solstices, but in the Southern Hemisphere the equinox in September is the Spring Equinox.

Posted in Night Sky, Space Scouts