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What is the vernal equinox?

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The March equinox marks when the Northern Hemisphere starts to tilt toward the sun, which means longer, sunnier days. In the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox is called the vernal equinox, because it signals the beginning of spring (vernal means fresh or new like the spring). read more

Thus, in the Southern Hemisphere, the March equinox is called the autumnal equinox, and the September equinox is called the vernal equinox. People have celebrated the vernal equinox for centuries. For ancient cultures, the vernal equinox signaled that their food supplies would soon return. read more

Vernal equinox and autumnal equinox: these classical names are direct derivatives of Latin (ver = spring and autumnus = autumn). These are the historically universal and still most widely used terms for the equinoxes, but are potentially confusing because in the southern hemisphere the vernal equinox does not occur in spring and the autumnal equinox does not occur in autumn. read more

The vernal equinox marks the zero point in both the equatorial and ecliptic coordinate systems; horizontal angular distances (right ascension in the equatorial system and celestial longitude in the ecliptic system) are measured eastward from this point. read more

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