This NASA real image from space shows Earth at the moment of equinox. The Equator is exactly parallel to the Ecliptic, the plane of Earth’s orbit around the sun, so the noonday sun is vertically above the (shadowless) observer at the Equator.
Earth’s polar axis is tilted 23.5º to this Plane of the Ecliptic, giving us our hemispherical seasons (the North Pole is tilted away from the sun for the northern winter, towards in summer). There are only two moments each year when neither pole points toward the Sun, and the Sun lies directly above Earth’s equator. These moments are the equinoxes. The Northern Hemisphere’s Spring or Vernal Equinox is on 20th or 21st March; the Autumnal Equinox on 22 or 23 September.
Equi-nox comes from the Latin, meaning equal night – because at equinox every part of the planet gets equal amounts – 12 hours each – of sunlight and darkness*. You can say that all life on Earth has a shared moment of equality at equinox, literally and metaphorically – hence EQ’s strapline and demo website equal under the sun.
The early environmentalists nearly used the vernal equinox as the first Earth Day in 1969. A missed opportunity, for no other days have the advantages of equinoxes as calendar events to promote environmental action. This stems from three unique properties:
- Equinoxes are fixed planet events – seasonal moments of balance
- We are equal under the sun at equinox*- to sense what we share in common
- Biannual events double up on action – acting as accelerators for change
from these other attributes accrue, explored in the following blogs, starting with a suggested Four-Fold Pledge action template:
- Equinoxes are universal, understood in all regions and cultures
- Attuning to a planetary rhythm reconnects us to nature
- Taking the planetary long view and seeing the big picture is both clarifying and empowering.
- Collective action will reinforce a sense of global citizenship, of interdependence
- Equinoctial common-sense logic bears down on irrational and delusional thinking
- Equinoxes are natural recharge points for summer and winter auditing
- Logo & Slogans. EQ is info-packed; helpful slogans are led by Spring into action and Turn over a new leaf