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The sun will be directly above equator on Monday

Experts have worked out 1.28pm on Monday as the time Kenya will witness the Equinox, a phenomenon when the sun is directly above the equator.

Some say that if one erects a straight rod perpendicular to the ground, at the Equinox time there will be no shadow under the rod as the sun will be straight overhead Kenya.

It is a phenomenon that happens on only two days every year, in March and in September.

During the Equinox, days are equal to nights in most places across the globe. There are days of the year when the darkness at 6am is as not as intense as that at 6pm, when it appears that the sun rises late and sets early.

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Then there are days when the opposite happens. On the Equinox, the 6 pm light and the 6 am one are of the same intensity in a majority of areas across the world.

While the Equinox is considered a pretty uneventful occurrence, in Kenya it is significant to the rain patterns — according to Mr Samuel Mwangi, the deputy director of the Kenya Meteorological Department.

ACCESS THE SUN DIFFERENTLY

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Mr Mwangi told the Nation on Saturday that because the earth’s rotation around the sun makes various continents access the sun differently, the March Equinox signals the beginning of the long rains season in Kenya.

“When the sun comes overhead, since we are over the equator, this kind of marks the time when our season begins for the long rains, and basically those other activities that depend on the rainfall start,” said Mr Mwangi.

He explained that the rain-bearing wave, called the inter-tropical convergence zone, follows the sun. “It runs behind the sun by some weeks,” he said.

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“During September again, the earth’s rotation makes the sun to ‘move’ from north to south, and after a few weeks, you have the short rains start in October,” he said.

The March equinox can happen on the 19th, 20th or 21st, depending on whether it is a leap year. Catholics use it to determine the Easter date, as from the Equinox it is possible to calculate the nearest date there will be a full moon on the sky, which is the date set for Easter Sunday.

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