Earth simply bought one other dazzling glamour shot, because of a satellite tv for pc that snapped its photograph on the March 20 spring equinox. This photograph exhibits half of the planet illuminated in gentle, and the opposite steeped in darkness, identical to a black-and-white cookie.
This stunning symmetry isn’t any shock for anybody who is aware of something concerning the equinox. In Latin, equinox means “equal night time.” Twice a 12 months, in March and September, the equinox occurs when the quantity of daylight and darkness are almost equal in any respect latitudes, in accordance with the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Why aren’t equinoxes extra frequent? The reply has to do with Earth’s tilt. As a result of the planet is tilted on its axis about 23.5 levels, daylight is normally unequally distributed throughout the planet. Relying on the place Earth is in its orbit across the solar, both the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere could have longer days or nights. [Earth Pictures: Iconic Images of Earth from Space]
“Throughout two particular instances twice a 12 months, the lean is definitely perpendicular to the solar, which signifies that Earth is equally illuminated within the Northern and Southern hemispheres,” C. Alex Younger, affiliate director for science within the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Middle, beforehand informed Dwell Science.
In different phrases, the solar is straight above the equator at midday throughout an equinox.
This previous week, the equinox occurred at 5:58 p.m. EDT on Wednesday (March 20), marking the primary astronomical day of spring for the Northern Hemisphere. The brand new picture, nevertheless, was taken a number of hours earlier than that, at eight a.m. EDT, by the GOES EAST satellite tv for pc.
Then GOES satellites, also referred to as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite tv for pc system, are a community of Earth-observing satellites operated by NOAA. They collect data on climate forecasting, extreme storm monitoring and meteorology analysis.
Initially printed on Dwell Science.