“Today is the Equinox! Are days and nights equal everywhere on Earth?”
The autumn equinox falls every year around September 23 or 24. Equinox is latin for “equal nights.” On this day, planet earth rotates so that the sun crosses from the Northern Hemisphere, across the equator, and to the Southern Hemisphere.
With Ms. Corwin’s Geography students, we explored an awesome interactive mapping tool, called Journey North. This mapping and migration tool posed the question: “Today is the Equinox! Are days and nights equal everywhere on Earth?”
This was a relevant time to share with young geographers my experience of 24 hours of daylight/ 7 days a week while in Arctic Svalbard aboard the National Geographic Explorer. The midnight sun happens in the summer months north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun can be visible for a continuous 24 hours. And as the sunlight shifts to the opposite side of the world, the northern polar region polar bears will be eventually in total darkness. The opposite idea, polar night, occurs in winter when the sun stays below the horizon throughout the day.
Gradually, as our seasons change, the penguins in the south by the Antarctic Circle will have constant daylight, as the sun remains visible at their local midnight.
Therefore, 24/7 daylight in the Arctic (North Polar region) means 24/7 darkness in the Antarctic (South Polar region). Today’s Equinox marks an official change of seasons. I loved co-teaching with our Geography Teacher, Ms. Corwin today. We taught that animals use the Equinox, a change of seasons, to migrate. What a great way to teach geography- actively studying maps as animals and seasons move across them.