vernal equinox

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vernal equinox

1. One of two points at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator. At the vernal equinox, the sun is moving along the ecliptic in a northeasterly direction.
2. The moment at which the sun passes through this point on or about March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

vernal equinox

1. (Physical Geography) the time at which the sun crosses the plane of the equator towards the relevant hemisphere, making day and night of equal length. It occurs about March 21 in the N hemisphere (Sept 23 in the S hemisphere)
2. (Astronomy) astronomy the point, lying in the constellation Pisces, at which the sun's ecliptic intersects the celestial equator
3. (Astronomy) the time at which this occurs as the sun travels south to north (March 21)


(ˈi kwəˌnɒks, ˈɛk wə-)

the time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth's equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the earth and occurring about March 21 (vernal equinox) and Sept. 22 (autumnal equinox).
[1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin equinoxium, for Latin aequinoctium=aequi- equi- + noct-, s. of nox night + -ium -ium1]

ver·nal equinox

The moment of the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator while moving from south to north. It occurs on March 20 or 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Compare autumnal equinox.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.vernal equinox - March 21vernal equinox - March 21        
Mar, March - the month following February and preceding April
equinox - either of two times of the year when the sun crosses the plane of the earth's equator and day and night are of equal length
Noruz, Nowrooz, Nowruz - (Persian) the new year holiday in Iran and Azerbaijan and Afghanistan and Pakistan and parts of India and among the Kurds; comes at the vernal equinox
spring, springtime - the season of growth; "the emerging buds were a sure sign of spring"; "he will hold office until the spring of next year"
2.vernal equinox - (astronomy) the equinoctial point that lies in the constellation of Pisces
astronomy, uranology - the branch of physics that studies celestial bodies and the universe as a whole
equinoctial point, equinox - (astronomy) either of the two celestial points at which the celestial equator intersects the ecliptic