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Day and night are perfectly balanced on the first day of spring in photo snapped from space

HARMONY ON EARTH

The shot was taken from space on the spring equinox, which fell on March 20 this year

A STUNNING image shows the Earth in perfect balance between night and day on the first official day of spring.

The shot was taken from space on the spring equinox, which fell on March 20 this year.

With half of the planet illuminated in light and the other steeped in darkness, the picture captures the Earth’s beautiful symmetry.

During the equinox, the amount of daylight and darkness is nearly equal at all latitudes.

It occurs twice a year, in March and in September and heralds the changing seasons.

Last week marked the official astronomical start of spring – which is also referred to as the vernal equinox.

"During two special times twice a year, the tilt is actually perpendicular to the sun, which means that Earth is equally illuminated in the Northern and Southern hemispheres," C. Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, previously told Live Science.

This means, the sun is directly above the equator at noon during an equinox, which is latin for “equal night”.

“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,” according to the US' National Weather Service.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox also marks the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Northern Hemisphere's autumnal equinox — which will take place six months later — heralds the coming of spring south of the equator.

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