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Spring equinox marks the change of seasons

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India will welcome the equinox (March-20) (Latin for equal day and night), when it will be Holi, the festival of colours.

Spring equinox marks the change of seasons as the balance of light shifts to make for longer days or nights. The word equinox comes from the Latin for equal and night. Almost everywhere in the world today, nighttime and daytime are each 12 hours.

Astronomically speaking, the March equinox marks one of the four major turning points in Earth’s cycle of seasons. We observe these annual changes because the planet is tilted on its axis, so that for most of the year, one hemisphere or the other is closer to the sun and is experiencing longer days.

But this tilt seems to vanish on the equinoxes in March and September, and both halves of the planet get equal amounts of day and night. For the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox marks the start of spring, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the official beginning of autumn.

An equinox occurs twice a year when the tilt of Earth’s axis is inclined neither away nor towards the sun. The Spring equinox – sometimes referred to as the vernal equinox – occurs around March 20 each year, while the Autumn equinox is around September 22. The March equinox is often used by astronomers to measure a tropical year — the mean time it takes for the Earth to complete a single orbit around the sun.

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