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Day and night are perfectly balanced in the Spring Equinox photo snapped from space

The forces of light and dark, are basically equal at this time on Earth.
(NOAA; NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory)

The earth is just an other stunning glamour shot, thanks to a satellite that snapped the pictures on the on March 20, the vernal equinox. This photo shows the half of the planet lit up in the light, and the other immersed in the darkness, like a black-and-white cookie.

This beautiful symmetry is no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the equinox. In Latin, equinox means ” equal night.” Twice a year, in March and September, the equinox happens when the amount of daylight and darkness are virtually equal in all latitudes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why not the equinox common? The answer has to do with the Earth tilt. Because the planet is tilted on its axis of about 23.5 degrees, daylight is usually unevenly distributed across the planet. Depending on where the Earth is in its orbit around the sun, the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere has longer days or nights. [Earth Pictures: Iconic Images of Earth from Space]

“During two special times to two times per year, the tilt is actually perpendicular to the sun, which means that the Earth is just as enlightened in the Northern and Southern hemisphere,” c. the Young Alex, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, previously told Live Science.

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In other words, the sun is directly over the equator at noon during equinox.

This past week, the equinox happened at 5:58 pm EDT on Wednesday (March 20), marking the first astronomical day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The new image, however, was a few hours before that, at 8 a.m. EDT, the GOES EAST satellite.

Then it GOES satellites, also known as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system), a network of Earth-observing satellites operated by NOAA. They collect information about the weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, and meteorological research.

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Originally published on Live Science.

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