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GOES-16 satellite snaps breathtaking vernal equinox from 22,300 miles away
GOES-16 captures stunning image of our planet.
Equinox is when our planet is as different as night and day. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a new image that shows the phenomenon in full glory. The Geostationary and Polar-Orbiting Weather Satellites were used to take the image.
The GOES-16 is positioned around 22,300 miles away from Earth and is line up at 75.2 W longitude and the equator. The distance is enough to capture full-disk imagery of the Earth.
Twice every year, during a vernal and autumnal equinox, the Sun is directly above the equator during its orbit. This results in the same amount of sunlight and darkness equal at all latitudes. The image captured by GOES-16 shows the breathtaking view of this phenomenon.
"When the Earth is halfway between the two sides of the orbital plane, things line up perpendicular, but this doesn't last long, as the Earth never stops its orbit," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel.
The perfectly vertical line dividing the darkness and light visible in the image is a result of the earth's axis pointing neither toward nor away from the sun.
"The 'nearly' equal hours of day and night is due to refraction of sunlight, or a bending of the light's rays that causes the sun to appear above the horizon when the actual position of the sun is below the horizon," stated National Weather Service.
Though the phenomenon stays for a short duration. At other times the dividing line would be a bit diagonal, with more light in the northern hemisphere.