Happy Spring! Today is the Spring or Vernal Equinox.
Although the equinox falls on March 20 in 2017, it can also take place on March 19 or 21.
Spring officially arrives at 6:28 tomorrow morning.
This means that even though we celebrate the vernal equinox as an entire day, it is really only one moment, the instant that the sun crosses the celestial equator.
What is the vernal equinox?
Why only two days when the sun is directly above the equator?
What is the Vernal Equinox?
Those of you who remember Grade 5 geography class will know the spring equinox is the time when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day are (hold on while we activate the caps lock feature on our keyboard) ALMOST EQUAL, hence the Latin-derived word "equinox", which means "equal night". At the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun and gets more direct sunlight.
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What else does the equinox do?
Early Egyptians were clearly impressed by the power of the equinox: They constructed the Great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising sun on the spring equinox. Passover is the first full moon after the equinox, while Easter is determined as the Sunday after the first full moon after the Equinox.
So shouldn't it be warm now?
"The sun was warm, but the wind was chill". You can see from the chart below, depending on where you live on the planet, the day on which you have equal day and night shifts on the calendar.
During the equinox, daylight and darkness last for equal duration.
Due to refraction of the atmosphere, and the fact the sun is not just a point, the sun appears and disappears when its centre is slightly below the horizon, explaining the "extra" daylight. Some call the day there is true equality to day-night hours the equilux - it usually happens a few days before the vernal equinox.
Can I balance an egg on this day?
If you can perform this balancing act at the equinox, you should be able to perform it any other time of the year, with the right egg and a bit of practice. It's got nothing to do with the equinox or earth's gravitational alignment.