Science

Difference between Equinox and Solstice

The seasons of the year; spring, summer, autumn and winter, are the result of the translation movement that the Earth makes around the Sun. The beginning of each of these is marked by one of two phenomena known as solstice and equinox.

Solstice and equinox are nothing more than indicators of the position of the Sun relative to the Equator and the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Comparison chart

Equinox
Solstice
What is it? Moment in the year in which the Sun forms a perpendicular axis with the Equator. The parallel of solar declination and the celestial equator coincide. In other words, an equinox occurs when the Sun is perpendicular to just above the Equator. As for the solstices, it is about those moments in which the Sun reaches its maximum north and south inclination with respect to Ecuador. The Sun is located just above the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn as the case may be.
Characteristics Equinox comes from the Latin aequinoctium which means “equal night”. This is because during the equinoxes the day and night are practically the same length all over the world (with the exception of the poles). On the other hand, solstice comes from the Latin solstitium and means “Sun still”. During the solstices the Sun reaches its highest and lowest apparent height in the sky. In addition, the day and night last longer depending on the time of the solstice.
How many times a year do they happen? Twice. Each of these equinoxes marks the beginning of spring (March) and fall (September) in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa in the Southern Hemisphere. In the same way, the solstices happen twice a year. Each of these times marks the beginning of summer (June) and winter (December) in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa in the Southern Hemisphere.

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