vernal equinox

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Related to vernal equinox: autumnal equinox

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
References in classic literature ?
Every fourth year, at the vernal equinox, there is a representative council of the whole nation, which meets in a plain about twenty miles from our house, and continues about five or six days.
Finding my first seed did not grow, which I easily imagined was by the drought, I sought for a moister piece of ground to make another trial in, and I dug up a piece of ground near my new bower, and sowed the rest of my seed in February, a little before the vernal equinox; and this having the rainy months of March and April to water it, sprung up very pleasantly, and yielded a very good crop; but having part of the seed left only, and not daring to sow all that I had, I had but a small quantity at last, my whole crop not amounting to above half a peck of each kind.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), vernal equinox is an astronomical event that marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere.
The ancient Persians celebrated their new year at the time of the vernal equinox by painting eggs.
Most times, the vernal equinox falls on March 20, but it rarely falls on March 19 or 21 due to the Gregorian calendar having 365.242 days.
Astronomically, the vernal equinox marks the time that the sun crosses the Earth's equator from south to north and is one of only two times in the year when day and night are equal in length.
The Vernal Equinox is the start of spring, when day and night are roughly equal.
Naw-Ruz, or New Day, is celebrated at the vernal equinox, on the first day of spring.
The other annual equinox, called vernal equinox, occurs in March and signals the start of spring in the northern hemisphere and of autumn in the southern hemisphere.
The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox.