The first day of spring has finally sprung, six weeks after Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, signifying that winter has finally come to a close. The first day of spring falls today, March 20, 2014, with signs that higher temperatures are on the horizon.
For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox (or spring equinox) takes place in March after the sun passes over the celestial equator per the Huffington Post. This year, the sun is scheduled to move across the invisible line between hemispheres at 12:57 p.m. EDT.
Equinoxes and solstices take place four times a year, when Earth experiences astronomical events. These signal the end of one season and the beginning of another.Equinoxes take place in March and September and herald the spring and fall, which solstices happen in June and December – indicating the beginning of summer and winter. People south of the equator enter autumn at this time, while people in the Northern Hemisphere welcome spring.
Many believe that the length of the day is equal to the length of the night on the annual spring equinox. This myth is not entirely accurate, it turns “days of day-night equality” take place just before the vernal equinox, National Geographic notes. Geoff Chester, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Naval Observatory, said that it all depends on location.
“Exactly when it happens depends on where you are located on the surface of the Earth,” Chester told National Geographic.
Another myth people believe? That spring equinox takes place on the same day each year. The spring equinox does tend to occur in late March, however the exact date differs each year, much like Thanksgiving. This is due to the number of calendar days rather than the equinox itself. The Gregorian calendar rounds down to 365 days and does not account for the extra 0.256 days. So the spring equinox may fall on March 20th for several years in a row then occur on March 21 a year later.
How will you celebrate your first day of spring?