What is the equinox all about?

At 9.04am UTC on September the 23rd (find your time here) the September equinox takes place.


At that moment the earth is neither tilted towards or away from the sun. Most of us know this as the day and night being of equal lengths.


You can check this out visually on the Sun Map we talked about in a recent blog. At other times of the year the day/night line is a curve – at this point in time, it is a straight line.


So today is the day that everyone in the world is experiencing night and day of the same lengths. The day we experience as the same before we turn and head in opposite directions again – with our long summer days or long winter nights.


Interesting facts about equinox:

  • The moments of the equinox are not fixed, but fall about six hours later every year – about one full day in four years. This gets reset by the leap year.
  • On the day of an equinox, the Sun rises everywhere on Earth (except the Poles) at 06:00 in the morning and sets at 18:00 in the evening (local time). This can be altered if your country is using Daylight Saving
  • One effect of the equinox is the temporary disruption of communications satellites. The effects varies but can range from a few minutes to an hour.
  • At the poles, the equinox marks the start of the transition from 24 hours of nighttime to 24 hours of daylight (or vice versa). Far north of the Arctic Circle, at Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, there is an additional 15 minutes more daylight every day about the time of the Spring equinox, whereas in Singapore (which is just one degree of latitude north of the Equator), the amount of daylight in each daytime varies by just a few seconds.

Our next equinox is in March 2012 – and you expect it at 5.04am UTC on the 20th.



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