2010 Equinox, Summer turns into Fall

And before you knew it, the summer is over. The 2010 September Equinox falls on 23 September 03.09. The Fall Equinox is the moment when the night and day span exactly the same amount of hours.

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens….An equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time (rather than two whole days), when there is a location on the Earth's equator where the center of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead (in astronomical terms, the subsolar point), occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year….On a day of the equinox, the center of the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, night and day being of roughly the same length.

If you ever have the chance, go check out the Equinox in Chichen Itza.

Chichen Itza Equinox

Twice a year, the Chichen Itza  Equinox is an astronomical miracle. I made a Time lapse video of the equinox 21 of March in Chichen Itza, Mexico. the Maya's used the pyramid of Chichen Itza as a calendar. Twice a year, on March 21 and September 21, the sun is making a shadow on the side of the stairs on the North side of the Pyramid in the form of a snake. This was the sign for the Maya's to start planting the corn.

This timelapse video was made with a Canon Rebel XT on a tripod. It consists of 350 photo's with a timelapse of 5 second between every shot.

Would you like this video on your blog, copy the following code in your html:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zhOu1_1kCU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The great pyramid, El Castillo or even better the Temple of Kukulkan, is one of the seven wonders of the world.  It has 91 steps to the top on each side (totalling 364 steps plus one for the platform at the top making 365 steps, one for each day of the year). It has 52 panels on each side representing the 52 year cycle of the Maya calendar. Twice a year, On the Spring and Autumn equinox,  on the corner of the structure the rising and setting sun casts a shadow in the shape of a serpent - Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl - along the west side of the north staircase.

The video above is from the Spring Equinox 2008.

El Castillo - Temple of Kukulkan

El Castillo - Temple of Kukulkan

Since 2002 I've been 3 times to Chichen Itza, and every time I'm impressed on the magic this place has. The precision and the craftsmanship the Maya's have build these buildings is just amazing.

Making the Chichen Itza Equinox Timelapse in 2008

Making the Chichen Itza Equinox Timelapse in 2008

I hope I will have the opportunity to come back to Chichen Itza in the future.

A couple of other facts:

  • An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator.
  • A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun's apparent position in the sky reaches its northernmost or southernmost extremes.

The solstice is the exact reverse point as the equinox.