“equinox”: there are two sets of days of the year when the Sun crosses the equator and the length of the day and the night are equal (hence, “equinox”). The vernal equinox is in the spring about March 20-21, and the autumnal equinox occurs in the fall (autumn) around September 22-23. These dates are for the northern hemisphere, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes are reversed in the southern hemisphere. The word “equinox” comes from the Latin equinoxium, which translates to “equality between day and night”.
“solstice”: the solstice also occurs twice a year–once when the Sun is at its northernmost point (at the Tropic of Cancer) and again when the Sun is at its southernmost point (at the Tropic of Capricorn). The summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere occurs about June 21-22. The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere occurs about December 21. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium which translates to “sun standing still”. During each solstice, it seems as if the Sun is standing still.
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