Thursday, 20 March 2008

The meaning of Equinox

Today, at 05:48 GMT (06:48 here in Warsaw), is the moment of the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox. At that time, the sun crosses the Equator, and will from now on be shining over the Northern Hemisphere. This is the astronomical beginning of spring. Equinox (from the Latin, 'equal night') means that all over the world, the day is 12 hours long, and the night is 12 hours long (roughly, of course - the earth's curvature does mean that dusks are shorter at the Equator than at the Poles). From today right up to September 22 at 16:44 GMT, we'll have more day than night in the Northern Hemisphere. Today the sun rises just before quarter to six in the morning and sets at quarter to six in the evening. And winter is officially over.

Notice on the map above the red star shape over the Indian Ocean. That's the sun crossing the Equator. And note the rectangular shape of daylight falling on the globe. This map is available here. Below: The view from my study at Equinox. "It may be zero degrees, but in my heart it's spring".

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