Friday, March 20, may seem just another day to spend in our homes while the quarantine is put in effect, but once the clock hits 11:49 am, the day will actually signal the start of the equinox. This means spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
What does this mean for us? We break down the details of this annual phenomenon:
What is an equinox?
From the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night), an equinox, according to dictionary.com, is “the time or date at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of equal length.”
An equinox happens twice a year; the second occurs on Tuesday, September 22 at 9:30 pm.
Where is the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere?
The former is north of the equator and includes countries like the United States, Canada, Russia, and countries in Europe. The latter is south of the equator and includes most of South American, a third of Africa, all of Antarctica, some of Asia, and all of Australia/Oceania.
What happens at the Northern Hemisphere during spring?
Countries in this part of the globe, says earthsky.org, can expect “earlier sunrises, later sunsets, softer winds, sprounting plants.” The opposite happens at the Southern Hemisphere: “later sunrises, earlier sunsets, chillier winds, dry and falling leaves.”
Is the equinox exclusive to Earth?
No. Saturn experiences an equinox, too. Though unlike our planet, which has an equinox twice a year, Saturn’s spring and summer equinoxes occur about every 15 years, says treehugger.com, since the ringed planet takes 30 years to move around the sun!