So, while the solstices and equinoxes are connected, they occur at separate times of the year. Just keep in mind that solstices are the longest and shortest days of the year, but equinoxes occur when the day and night are both equal lengths.
Equinoxes and solstices share many same characteristics. Both events mark a change in season as well as position of the Earth relative to the Sun. However, equinoxes happen at different times each year because the distance between the Earth and the Sun changes over time due to its elliptical orbit. Solstices, on the other hand, occur at the same time every year because the orientation of the Earth's axis is fixed with respect to the Sun.
Also, unlike equinoxes which only happen once every year, solstices can occur multiple times during the year. For example, both spring and fall equinoxes occur each year, but only one of these events occurs at the exact moment of the equinox. The other event must be later by about 11 days.
Furthermore, solstices tend to have more influence over nature than equinoxes do. At a solar eclipse, the Earth's shadow falls on the Moon at a solstice, not an equinox.
The equinoxes are two days each year when the sun rises precisely over the equator. When this happens, the duration of the day becomes the same everywhere around the world. It served as a means for ancient people to record the changing of seasons by having longer or shorter days.
Please choose one of the following: seasons, equinoxes, or solstices. The Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes: Only twice a year is the Earth's axis tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, resulting in "nearly" equal amounts of daylight and darkness at all latitudes.
The main distinction between the equinox and the solstice is that a solstice is the point in the Earth's orbit around the sun when the sun is at its greatest distance from the equator, whereas an equinox is when the sun is at its closest distance to the equator. Because the earth is tilted on it's axis, we have seasons; each year the angle between the earth and the sun changes because of its orbit around the center of mass between the sun and the earth.
At both the equinox and the solstice, the day and night are of equal length. It's only the position of the sun that causes differences between them. At the equinox, the sun rises due west and sets due east, causing the north-south axis to be aligned with the earth-sun line. At the winter solstice, by contrast, the sun rises due south and sets due north, so that the north-south axis is at a right angle to the earth-sun line.
These are important points to remember when trying to calculate sunrise and sunset times for any given location. The equinoxes and the solstices only happen once every 26 months or so, but there can be significant variations between these events caused by the earth's orbit being elliptical rather than circular, as well as its axis being inclined to this orbit instead of being perpendicular to it.
The main distinction between the equinox and the solstice is that a solstice occurs when the sun is at its greatest distance from the equator during the Earth's orbit around the sun, whereas an equinox occurs when the sun is at its closest distance to the equator. However, this is only true for locations on the equator or in the middle of the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. On land, the sun always rises over the northern hemisphere and sets over the southern hemisphere, so the distance it travels north to south varies throughout the year.
Furthermore, at both equinoxes and solstices, the amount of daylight and darkness is the same everywhere on Earth. It's just that at certain times of the year, more of the day is light than dark, while at other times, more of the night is light than dark.
Equinoxes and solstices also share some similarities with each other. At both times every year, the daytime is longest on the vernal equinox and shortest on the winter solstice, and vice versa for nighttime. The days get longer as we get closer to the equinoxes and shorter as we get farther away from them, and the nights get longer as we get closer to the solstices and shorter as we get farther away from them.
An equinox is one of two times a year when the lengths of daylight and nighttime hours are almost equal. The two equinoxes fall on March 20–21 and September 22–23, respectively. They can not be observed directly but are estimated from observations of the night sky and earth's surface features made during astronomical events known as solar eclipses and lunar eclipses.
Equinox means "equal nights", referring to the fact that for a given location on Earth, days and nights are of nearly the same length at these times. At other times of the year, nights are longer than days. During a total solar eclipse, only part of the sun is obscured from view; thus some locations experience daytime while others experience nighttime. Similarly, under different circumstances, parts of Earth experience day while others experience night. Because of this variation, astronomers cannot observe a single point on Earth directly from their telescopes at both equinoxes simultaneously; instead they make observations at one spot on Earth during each event and use those results to estimate what was happening elsewhere.
The word "equinoctial" is sometimes used interchangeably with "eclipse season", but an equinoctial eclipse occurs at or near the time of either an equinox or solstice.
What is their relationship to the location of the Earth's axis? A solstice is a day when the midday sun is at 23.5 degrees or 23.5 degrees north. The term "equinox" refers to a time when neither pole of the Earth's axis is inclined toward the sun. These events occur around March 20 and September 22, respectively.
The word "solstice" comes from the Latin word for "sunstander," because on these days the sun is directly over the equator at mid-day, as seen from everywhere on Earth. The two other points in the orbit of the earth where it is noon are called the "winter solstice" (around December 21) and the "summer solstice" (around June 21).
These terms have nothing to do with seasonal changes. They have more to do with the position of Earth's axis relative to its orbit around the sun. At the winter solstice, the plane of Earth's rotation is tilted away from the sun, so that the northern hemisphere is in darkness. At the summer solstice, the planet is at its most upright position, with both poles facing toward the sun. As you might expect given this geometry, there are no seasons near either of these times.
During a year, the angle between Earth's axis and its orbit around the sun varies from 23.5 degrees to 90 degrees.