Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Equinox and Solstice

Equinox vs Solstice

The Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun. The amount of time that it takes the Earth to complete its revolution is 365 days which is the basis of how we determine the days of the year. Its rotation on its axis is responsible for giving us our day and night.

Ever wonder why in some years the month of February has one more day compared to other years and why the length of days and nights that we experience are not always the same? This is because the Earth has an elliptical path so its axis is tilted causing sunlight to hit the Earth’s surface at different angles during its rotation on its axis.

At the equator, however, night and day both have twelve hours since it is located at the center of the Earth while other parts of the Earth have different time lengths. Places that are farther away from the equator have either the shortest or the longest nights and days.

This is especially so during equinoxes and solstices. “Equinox” comes from the Latin words “aequus” which means “equal,” and “nox” which means “night.” It is when the center of the sun spends the same amount of time above and below the horizon with the tilt of the Earth exactly the same so it is not slanted away or towards the sun, thus making the hours of darkness and light equal.

“Solstice,” on the other hand, comes from the Latin words “sol” which means “sun” and “sistere” which means “to stand still.” During the solstice, the sun stops before reversing its direction causing sunlight to reach the southernmost and northernmost extremes of the Earth and providing them with longer nights and days.

Both an equinox and solstice happen twice each year. An equinox happens at a specific moment in time unlike the solstice which happens in days. There is the summer solstice wherein the days of sunlight are the longest, and the winter solstice wherein the days of darkness are also the longest.
While the solstice happens during summer and winter when the sun is the farthest away, the equinox happens during the start of autumn and spring, the time when the sun is closest to the equator. They are both dependent upon the seasons marking the start or the separation of seasons.

Summary:

1.An equinox is the time when the sun is nearest or spends the same amount of time at the horizon or the equatorial plane giving equal lengths to day and night while a solstice is the time when the sun is farthest from the equatorial plane causing longer nights and days.
2.An equinox happens at the start of spring and fall while a solstice happens during summer and winter.
3.Both happen twice every year; an equinox occurs at specific periods of time rather than days while a solstice occurs for several days.
4.They are both connected with the seasons oftentimes marking the separation between them. “Equinox” comes from the Latin words that mean “equal” and “night” while “solstice” means “sun” and “to stand still.”

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