(CNN) — Twice a yr, everybody on Earth is seemingly on equal footing — at the least in terms of the distribution of sunshine and darkish.
However throughout equinoxes, everybody from pole to pole will get to get pleasure from a 12 / 12 cut up of day and night time. Effectively, there’s only one rub — it is not as completely “equal” as you’ll have thought.
There is a good rationalization (SCIENCE!) for why you do not get exactly 12 hours of daylight on the equinox. Extra on that farther down within the article.
Listed here are the solutions to your fall equinox questions:
The place does the phrase ‘equinox’ come from?
Exactly when does the autumn equinox occur?
Why does fall equinox occur?
The Earth rotates alongside an imaginary line that runs from North Pole to South Pole. It is known as the axis, and this rotation is what provides us day and night time.
The impact is at its most in late June and late December. These are the solstices, and so they have essentially the most excessive variations between day and night time, particularly close to the poles. (That is why it stays mild for therefore lengthy every day throughout the summer season in locations corresponding to Scandinavia and Alaska.)
However because the summer season solstice three months in the past in June, you have seen that our days have been progressively turning into shorter within the Northern Hemisphere and the nights longer. And now right here we’re on the fall equinox!
What did our ancestors find out about all this?
A ‘superhenge’ found close to Stonehenge in England is believed to have been constructed 4,500 years in the past. CNN’s Erin McLaughlin studies.
Listed here are only a few of the websites related to the equinox:
What are some festivals, myths and rituals nonetheless with us?
All all over the world, the autumn equinox has weaved its approach into our cultures and traditions.
Nice Britain’s beloved harvest festivals have their roots in fall equinox since pagan occasions.
Autumn leaves placed on a present at Showa Kinen Park in Tokyo.
courtesy Takashi Hososhima, inventive commons
Are the Northern Lights actually extra lively on the equinoxes?
Sure — they typically placed on extra of a present this time of yr.
It seems the autumnal equinox and spring (or vernal equinox) normally coincide with peak exercise with the aurora borealis.
So why is not the equinox precisely equal?
It seems you really get somewhat extra daylight than darkness on the equinox, relying on the place you’re on the planet. How does that occur? The reply is a bit sophisticated however fascinating.
This bending of sunshine rays “causes the solar to seem above the horizon when the precise place of the solar is under the horizon.” The day is a bit longer at larger latitudes than on the equator as a result of it takes the solar longer to rise and set the nearer you get to the poles.
So on fall equinox, the size of day will range somewhat relying on the place you’re. Listed here are a couple of breakdowns to offer you an thought:
— On the equator: About 12 hours and 6 and half minutes (Quito, Ecuador; Nairobi, Kenya; and Singapore are all near the equator)
— At 30 levels latitude: About 12 hours and eight minutes (Houston, Texas; Cairo, Egypt; and Shanghai, China)
— At 60 levels latitude: About 12 hours and 16 minutes (Helsinki, Finland, and Anchorage, Alaska)