Vernal Equinox: Spring Starts Sunday!

Vernal Equinox: Spring Starts Sunday!
Equinox Ruslan / FlickrCC BY 2.0
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Astronomical junkies should mark their calendar this Sunday, March 20, as the world welcomes vernal equinox, which marks the official start of the spring season.


Astronomically speaking, the vernal equinox is when the sun’s rays light on the Earth’s equator, the website Weather says. This means that all parts of the world receive equal amount light as the southern and northern hemispheres receive relatively the same amount of light.

As a result, most parts of the world would experience an equal amount of light and darkness. According to the website, equinox happens twice a year. The first one, the vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, usually happen either on March 20 or 21 at 12:30 a.m EDT.

The second one is the autumnal equinox, which usually happens on September 23 or 23. The autumnal equinox marks the start of fall. Equinox is a major event in the astronomical calendar because it’s only during these days when the year receives an equal amount of light from the sun.

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It is also during this period when the Earth rotates perpendicularly instead of the usual titling away or toward the sun, the Weather adds. In most parts of the world, the daytime is almost the same length of that the nighttime at 12 hours.

According to the website, another unique astronomical occurrence that happens during equinoxes is when the sun “rises due east and sets due west.” The website added that another baffling thing about the equinox is why it occurs either on March 20 or 21 (vernal) and either September 20 or 21 (autumnal).

But it was explained that the equinoxes occur exactly the same time, as far as the celestial calendar is concerned. It is the Earth’s rather peculiar calendar with the extra day every four years to sync with the stars, that causes the distortion, it adds.

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