Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Interestingly, equinox happen on other planets. Any planet that has a significant tilt to its rotational axis experiences an equinox. The most dramatic of these is on Saturn, where the equinox places the normally majestic ring system edge-on facing the Sun. As a result, they are visible only as a thin line when seen from Earth. Also, they pick up very little light from the sun and shine themselves by planet-shine only. This happens approximately every fourteen years, the last being in August 2009. Since then its ring system has been slowly 'opening up', making for good viewing.
For modern day astronomers it represents not only an astronomical landmark, it often heralds the return of the spring and summer constellations. Familiar friends begin to return to the night sky, however short they are. For many others as well today represents a significant event. The days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer, the garden is starting to fill out with new life. Enjoy, for summer is on its way.