The autumnal equinox is the first day of autumn. How is it different from a solstice? : NPR


Tree branches laden with changing, multicolored fall leaves are seen under a blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds in Portland, Oregon, Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Today is the equinox of fall and the first day of fall, when the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.

Don Ryan/ASSOCIATED PRESS


hide caption

toggle caption

Don Ryan/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The autumnal equinox is the first day of autumn. How is it different from a solstice? : NPR

Tree branches laden with changing, multicolored fall leaves are seen under a blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds in Portland, Oregon, Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Today is the equinox of fall and the first day of fall, when the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.

Don Ryan/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fall begins at 9 p.m. on Eastern Thursday, a day officially known as the autumnal equinox.

The equinoxes and solstices only occur twice a year – the first days of fall and spring are equinoxes, while the first days of summer and winter are solstices.

How are they different?

What is an Equinox?

On the day of an equinox, the Earth tilts neither toward nor toward the sun, and therefore receives almost an equal amount of daylight and darkness, according to the National Weather Service.

At locations along the equator, the sun is directly overhead around noon on these days. Day and night appear to be equal due to the curvature of the sun’s rays, causing the sun to appear above the horizon when it is actually below.

During an equinox, the days are slightly longer in places with higher latitudes. At the equator, daylight can last about 12 hours and seven minutes. But at a place with 60 degrees of latitude, like the North Pole, a day lasts about 12 hours and 16 minutes.

What is a solstice?

On the day of a solstice, the Earth is at its maximum tilt, 23.5 degrees, either toward or away from the sun.

During a summer solstice, the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere and tilts towards the sun, causing the longest day of the year. It’s winter in the southern hemisphere, where the Earth is moving away from the sun.

Similarly, a winter solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere when the hemisphere moves away from the sun, making it the day with the least amount of sunlight. The sun is above the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere, making it summer there.


npr

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button