Today marks the start of Spring which began at 6:29 this morning. Monday is also a special time in astronomy. This is when the sun’s direct rays are crossing over the Earth’s equator from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere, according to The Weather Channel.
During the equinox, nearly equal amounts of daylight and darkness are experienced throughout the world.
Okay, that’s great but what does it mean? It means that the vernal equinox is here, and astronomically speaking, spring has officially begun.
Twice a year, around March 20 or 21 and September 22 or 23, the sun’s most direct rays shine on the equator. These two days are known as the vernal (spring) equinox and the autumnal (fall) equinox, respectively.
This year, the vernal equinox takes place on Monday, March 20 at 6:28 a.m. EDT. At this time, the sun is crossing over from the southern hemisphere into the northern hemisphere. During this process, the sun is shining directly over the earth’s equator, bathing the earth’s northern and southern hemispheres in nearly an equal amount of sunlight.
Instead of a tilt away from or toward the sun, the Earth’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the Earth and the sun during an equinox. During the equinox, both day and night are balanced to nearly 12 hours each all over the world.
Good news for those in the northern hemisphere: Daylight continues to grow longer until the summer solstice, which occurs on Wednesday, June 21. The opposite occurs in the southern hemisphere, where daylight continues to grow shorter.
From the Farmer’s Almanc: Watch the equinox show below on March 20 to celebrate the arrival of spring! With our friends at Slooh (and their giant telescopes!), we’ll hear from Almanac editor Janice Stillman, who will discuss this season of rebirth, and Almanac astronomer Bob Berman, who will tell us all about the phenomenon that makes this possible while gazing on live views of our Sun. Plus, witness one of the most amazing sights in the night sky–the magical Northern Lights live from the arctic circle. Slooh will explain this amazing natural spectacle as we watch high-energy particles from the Sun rain down and light up Earth’s upper atmosphere!
LIVE TELESCOPE SHOW: CELEBRATING THE MARCH EQUINOX
Starts below on Monday, March 20, 2017, 4:30 PM EDT!