Equinox and solstice

As the earth follows an elliptical path around the sun , its inclined axis causes sunlight to reach the earth’s surface at various angles. That is why the length of days and nights is not the same anywhere in the world . Two terms are often used when people discuss this topic: solstice and equinox . This article will explain the difference between them.

Solstice
Equinox
DefinitionSolstice refers to the two days of the year that have more and less sunlight anywhere in the world.The equinox occurs when the sun is positioned exactly above a specific point on Earth’s equator. It results in equal illumination of the southern and northern hemispheres.
When it happensIt usually takes place on June 21 (summer solstice) and December 22 (winter solstice).It usually takes place on March 20 (vernal equinox) and September 22 (autumnal equinox).
Where is the sunThe sun is at its furthest point from the equator.The sun is at its closest point to the equator.
DurationSummer solstice = longest day
Winter solstice = longest night
Day and night have the same length during the March and September equinox.

Definition of Solstice

Solstice refers to any of the two days of the year that have more and less sunlight anywhere in the world. It occurs twice in a year, and these events are called the summer solstice (that is, the June solstice ) and the winter solstice (that is, the December solstice).

The summer solstice generally occurs on June 21 . This is when the northern hemisphere is angled towards the sun and the southern hemisphere is angled away from the sun. The sun is at its highest point in the sky as seen from the north and south poles. The term “solstice” is the combination of the Latin words sol for sol and sticio, which means to stand still. This is because, as seen from Earth, the sun stops in its tracks before reversing its direction during its seasonal motion.

Definition of Equinox

The equinox occurs when the sun is positioned exactly above a specific point on Earth’s equator . It is only during the equinoxes that the “border” between day and night is at a 90-degree angle to the equator. This results in equal illumination of the southern and northern hemispheres. The equinoxes are the only cases where the area of ​​the planet closest to the sun (subpolar point) is on the equator line. This subpolar point on the equator travels north during the March equinox and moves south when the September equinox arrives .

Many seasons of the year are attributed to the equinoxes. In March, the vernal equinox (March 20) traditionally heralds the beginning of spring in many cultures in the Northern Hemisphere. The Persian calendar also marks this as the beginning of a new year, or Nouroz. The autumnal equinox, which occurs on September 22 , is considered by most to be the beginning of fall. For those in the southern hemisphere, however, the autumnal equinox occurs in March and the spring equinox in September .

Solstice vs Equinox

So what is the difference between a solstice and an equinox? A solstice occurs when the sun is farthest from Earth’s equatorial plane , resulting in longer days and nights. It marks the longest day of the year that falls in summer. It is also during a solstice that the shortest day of the year is experienced, in winter. During an equinox, the sun is at its closest point to the equatorial plane . Because of this, day and night are (almost) equally distributed over two separate days; one in March, the other in April. While a solstice occurs in summer and winter, an equinox occurs in early spring and early fall.

So far we have come with our differentiating article on Solstice and Equinox. If you have any concerns, leave us a comment below.

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