The First Day of Spring.
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The first day of Spring. An equinox in astronomy is the event when the Sun can be observed to be directly above the Earth's equator, occurring around March 20 and September 23 each year. More technically, the equinox happens when the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator and ecliptic intersect. In a wider sense, the equinoxes are the two days each year when the center of the Sun spends an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on Earth. The word equinox derives from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night).
Vernal equinox and autumnal equinox. These names are direct derivatives of Latin (ver = spring, autumnus = autumn), and as such more apt to be found in writings. Although in principle they are subject to the same problem as the spring/autumn names, their use over the centuries has fixed them to the viewpoint of the northern hemisphere. As such the vernal equinox is the equinox where the Sun passes from south to north, and is a zeropoint in some celestial coordinate systems. The name of the other equinox is used less often.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Equinox.
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