Monday, 21 March 2011

Understanding Equinoxes and Solstices

Equinoxes occur twice a year when the is sun crossing directly over the Earth’s equator (into the other hemisphere) and a solstice, also twice a year, is when the Sun reaches its most northern and southern extremes which are marked by the Tropic of Cancer (in the north) and the Tropic of Capricorn (in the south). These tropics are imaginary lines of latitude around the earth and are about 23 degrees north and south of the equator.

On the dates of the equinoxes, day and night are equal in length.

* The Spring (or vernal) equinox falls on or around 21st March which is when the Sun moves into Aries and marks the beginning of Spring. The Sun crosses the equator into the northern hemisphere and brings the summer months.
* The Summer solstice falls around the 21st June when the Sun moves into Cancer and marks the beginning of Summer.
* The Autumn equinox is around the 23rd September when the Sun moves into Libra and marks the beginning of Autumn. The sun crosses the equator and moves into the southern hemisphere giving the summer months and leaving the northern hemisphere to the Winter.
* The Winter solstice is on or around the 21st December when the sun enters Capricorn and marks the beginning of Winter.

Note that these zodiac signs are all cardinal signs and indicate the beginning of the seasons, the fixed signs are in the middle of each season and the mutable signs are at the end and getting ready for the change into the next season.