Equinox: Dates and Meaning

Earth succumbs to many types of conditions ranging from the likes of climates to seasons. The correlation of the Earth and the Sun’s position to each other can cause changes. We are exposed to these changes in the form of weather, climate, heat, and radiation.

Being aware of these factors about the equinox could prove beneficial for you. For example, you could change your shifts to better accommodate longer nightly hours.

This article provides a quality insight on several conditions and how they are brought about on the Earth. Be thoughtful enough to share this information with friends and family so they can better be aware and prepared.

What Is an Equinox?

Equinox is defined or characterized by the duration by which day and night seem to last for the same length of time. Simply put, the appearance of the night seems just as long as that of the day. Equinoxes are only ever seen two times within a year. The effects of an equinox occur regardless of your position in the north or southern hemisphere. It should take place simultaneously on both hemispheres. Most days or nights are extended by only a few minutes. Ideally, an Equinox should eliminate this, but this is not exactly true.

The idea presented by the equinox isn’t 100% accurate. Equinoxes have been found to expose the Earth to approximately six or more minutes of daylight. This happens because of the Sun. The Sun is round and therefore unlike a straight beam of light from a flashlight, it cannot fully fade instantaneously. Therefore, some amount of light enters the earth’s atmosphere for some time as it is vanishing.

On average, you may notice most days or nights are extended by minutes. The extra light that exists is dependent directly on the season in which the Earth is experiencing. For the colder seasons, it is evident that night is longer while for the warmer seasons this is the opposite.

Why Do Equinoxes Happen?

Equinoxes are naturally occurring phenomena of the Earth. These are only scheduled to happen twice a year. They occur because, at these times of the year, the equator is exposed to the constant rays of the sun as it crosses paths and sits above it. The Sun is only placed in this position when the orbit the earth follows, and the axial tilt synchronize or blend together. When this occurs, a line that divides the light and dark sections of the earth runs through the poles. This line is termed the terminator, but you may know it as the twilight zone.

You might wonder what prevents this from happening on most other days of the year. On a regular day within the year, the Earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees as it makes its natural orbit around the sun. This allows the Earth to orbit with respect to the sun. With the absence of a proper twilight zone, the Earth’s hemispheres receive light and darkness in opposite lengths. This means that in the colder seasons of the Northern Hemisphere, there is less light leading to more night. The opposite can then be said for the Southern Hemisphere, which is experiencing warmer seasons exposing it to more daylight.

The September Autumnal Equinox, or Fall Equinox: Dates

Equinoxes are evident two times of the year. The equinox, as discussed, only appears on occasions where the conditions are met between the Sun and the Earth. Since this is only occurring two times out of the year, then the date and conditions must be established. Also, note that the hemispheres receive the equinoxes on different dates according to their time zones. However, they still take place simultaneously.

Firstly, there is the autumnal, also termed the fall equinox. For the Northern Hemisphere, this occurs in September when the sun crosses the equator while moving south. This equinox is scheduled to occur in the fall, generally on or around September 22nd.

The March Vernal Equinox, or Spring Equinox: Dates

The opposite can be said for the Southern Hemisphere as it experiences its equinox under a different title. It is called the march vernal equinox or spring equinox. This equinox occurs in the Southern Hemisphere on March 20th. However, it can take place anywhere between the dates of the 19th and 21st.

What is a Solstice?

A solstice is characterized by the duration of time for which each hemisphere receives its day and night. A solstice occurs when one hemisphere of the earth is tilted either furthest to or away from the sun. This is possible because we know the earth is always tilted at a 23.5-degree angle.

The solstice not only allows for longer days and nights between the different hemispheres but additionally causes the seasons it experiences. The degree of closeness to the sun, the warmer the weather is, giving us the season of summer or spring. On the other hand, the further away, the colder the weather is, giving us the seasons of autumn and winter.

What’s the Difference Between the Solstice and the Equinox?

The difference between solstice and equinox is easily confused, however, they are different based on characteristics. Solstices encourage longer days or longer nights depending on the season of the hemisphere. On the other hand, equinox causes equal days and nights.

Another key factor to note is that equinox occurs two times a year on different dates from that of the solstice. Equinox dates range between march and September while solstice dates range between June and December the 21st respectively.

The Relationship Between Length of Day and Temperature

The length within a day is directly proportionate to the temperature. This means that as the length of the day increases, so does the temperature, and vice versa. You may notice that, for the months of summer, the days become longer and very hot while for winter the days become very cold and the nights longer. The fact surrounding this fluctuation in temperature is dependent on the degree of closeness between the sun and earth. If the earth and a particular hemisphere are tilted towards the sun, then it receives more radiation resulting in more heat. Therefore, if the earth’s hemisphere is tilted away, the opposite can be said.

Why Is It Called Equinox?

Equinoxes represent an equal length of day and night occurring simultaneously for an ideal 12 hours each. It is for this reason that it is termed equinox. The word can be broken down into ‘equi,’ meaning equal, and ‘nox,’ meaning night. It originated from the Latin word aequus.

Equinox Meaning Worldwide: Traditions and Folklore

Since its discovery, various religions and denominations have developed practices and traditions that represent its existence. It has attracted much folklore and traditional customs that believe that it symbolizes various outcomes. One of these traditions comes from the ancient Mayans – This group gathered around the pyramid of Chichen Itza. It is believed that on the vernal equinox, the shadow of a serpent is produced.


Whether you are situated within the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, you should experience these changes. By now you should understand that you experience both the solstice and equinox. The only question is what time of year are you exposed to it? This article not only adds knowledge of how both phenomena occur but when exactly you can expect each.

Ensure that you spread this newfound knowledge to both friends and family about the value of the content provided here. They should become better able to prepare themselves with knowledge of the change in daytime lengths and seasonal conditions. Ultimately the material provided should prove accurate and adequate in knowledge about equinox and solstice for them.

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