Last updated on February 21st, 2023 at 04:10 pm
Solstice and Equinox indicate the change of seasons on Earth. Due to the frequency of equinoxes and solstices, there are normally four seasons on Earth. The equinox and solstice occur owing to the earth’s ever-changing positioning in relation to the sun. Every year, there are two solstices and two equinoxes, and as they both signal the start of a new season, they are polar opposites. In this post, we have come up with the major difference between solstice and equinox.
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What is Solstice ?
A solstice occurs when a planet’s poles are at their most severe tilt towards and away from the star it orbits. Solstices on our globe are determined by solar declination, or the latitude at which the sun is directly overhead at midday. Solstices occur twice a year on Earth, when the sun’s declination reaches the Tropic of Cancer in the north and Capricorn in the south. Solar declination is roughly 23.5°N during the June solstice (between June 20 and June 22). Whereas, Solar declination is around 23.5°S during the December solstice (December 20–December 23; The Tropic of Capricorn).
As the Sun stands still in declination at the solstices, the word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), as the yearly movement of the Sun’s path (as viewed from Earth) comes to a halt before reversing direction. The day of the solstice is the longest (summer solstice) or the shortest (winter solstice) day of the year for any location outside of the tropics.
What Is Equinox ?
The equinox is a time of year when the day and night are both 12 hours long. Equinoxes happen twice a year, on March 20 and September 22, when the Earth is neither tilted towards nor away from the sun. The word “equi” originates from the Latin words “aequus”, which means equal, and “nox”, which means night. On the equinox, the day and night are not precisely the same duration, but they are near. This little discrepancy in time can be attributed to a number of factors.
We use the edge of the sun as a point of measurement instead of the centre to define day and night. Refraction also enables humans to glimpse sunlight before the sun rises above the horizon. The vernal equinox occurs in March in the Northern Hemisphere, while the autumnal equinox occurs in September in the Southern Hemisphere. Because the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, the names are reversed.
What Is The Difference Between Solstice and Equinox?
The main difference between solstice and equinox are as follows-
|In this, the sun is farthest from the equatorial plane at this time of year, resulting in lengthy nights and days.
|It is the time of year when the sun is closest to the equatorial plane, resulting in equal day and night lengths.
|Summer and winter solstices are the two sorts of solstices.
|Spring and autumn equinoxes are the two types of equinoxes.
|One of the poles is at its maximum tilt, far from or towards the sun on the day of the solstice.
|The sun passes the celestial equatorial line of the earth at the time of the equinox.
|Solstice occurs twice in a year, i.e., June & December.
|Equinox occurs twice in a year, i.e., March & September.
|In context to solstices, Summer solstice occurs on 21st June and Winter Solstice occurs on 22nd December.
|In context to equinox, vernal equinox occurs on 20th March and autumnal equinox occurs on 22nd September.
|Because of the axial tilt, the summer solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere in the month of June. The winter solstice occurs at the same time in context to the southern hemisphere.
|Because of the axial tilt, the spring equinox occurs in the northern hemisphere in the month of March. In the southern hemisphere, the autumn or fall equinox occurs at the same time.
|Because of the axial rotation, the winter solstice is observed in the northern hemisphere in December.
|Because of the axial rotation, the autumn equinox occurs in the northern hemisphere in September.
|In the southern hemisphere, the summer solstice happens at a similar time.
|In the southern hemisphere, the spring equinox occurs at the same time.
|On the 22nd June, the subsolar point is 23.5 degrees north, and on the 22nd December, it is 23.5 degrees south.
|The equator is the subsolar point.
|The words ‘sol’ and ‘stitium,’ which mean ‘stalled sun’ are derived from the Latin words ‘sol’ and ‘stitium.’ The solstice marks the beginning of the day and the end of the night.
|The vernal equinox, which is derived from the Latin words ‘aequi’ and ‘noctium,’ marks the start of spring.
Difference Between Solstice and Equinox – Time 2022
Every year solstice and equinox occurs at a particular time. This year both the equinox and solstice will occur at the given times-
The solstices are the year’s longest and shortest days, whereas the equinoxes occur when day and night are of equal length.
It is derived from a latin word meaning ‘sol’ and ‘stitium,’ which mean ‘stalled sun’.
It is derived from the Latin words meaning ‘aequi’ and ‘noctium’ i.e. marks the start of spring.
The other name for March equinox is vernal equinox.