10 Interesting Facts about Spring Equinox

spring equinox 2023
spring equinox 2023

The Spring equinox commemorates the sun’s crossing of the equator from south to north. It occurred on March 20, 2023, at 21:24 UTC (4:24 p.m. CDT). The Spring Equinox, also known as the Vernal Equinox, marks the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. The equinox brings with it a multitude of seasonal effects that are visible to nature enthusiasts all across the world, no matter where you are on the planet. At the equinox, the sun’s rays reach Earth’s two hemispheres evenly. Night and day are frequently said to be the same length. In reality, the term equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night) (night). Day and night were probably equal for our forefathers, whose timekeeping was less precise than ours. But we now know that this is not the case. Here are some interesting facts about Spring Equinox.

spring equinox
spring equinox

Image Source: Images George rex

Facts about Spring Equinox

1. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.: Another equinox-related phenomenon. At the equinox, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Is that correct? It certainly is. With the exception of the North and South Poles, this is true everywhere on the planet. The sun appears overhead at midday as seen from Earth’s equator at the equinoxes, as seen below. On the day of the equinox, this picture depicts the sun’s position on the celestial equator at each hour. Except in the North and South Poles, you have a due east and due west point on your horizon no matter where you are on Earth. That point is the intersection of your horizon and the celestial equator: the imaginary line above the Earth’s genuine equator. The sun is located on the celestial equator, which intersects all of our horizons at positions straight east and due west. Voila! The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

2. The Earth-centered view- From an Earth-centered perspective, the celestial equator can be viewed as a large circle dividing Earth’s sky into its Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The celestial equator is a fictitious line that circles the sky directly above Earth’s equator. At the equinox, the sun crosses the celestial equator and enters the Northern Hemisphere of the sky. Hence, according to the astronomical calendar, the spring of 2023 will span from March 20 until the summer solstice on June 20 in the Northern Hemisphere. But, climate scientists do not describe the seasons in this manner. They follow a separate calendar, dubbed the “meteorological calendar.” It divides the year into four seasons, each lasting three months, with spring beginning on March 1 and lasting through April and May. Climate scientists base their calendar on the temperature cycle rather than the astronomical position of the sun because full months and the same dates each year make it easier to analyze statistics and forecast trends.

3. The Earth-in-space view: From the standpoint of Earth in space, you must consider Earth in orbit around the sun. And we all know that the Earth does not orbit upright, but is tilted on its axis by 23 1/2 degrees. As a result, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the Earth alternate in getting the sun’s light and warmth most directly. An equinox occurs twice a year, in the spring and fall when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is neither inclined away from nor towards the sun.

4. Forget about the weather and focus just on the length of daylight. In terms of daylight, the notion that spring has arrived – and summer is on its way – pervades all of nature on Earth’s northern half. Every day, take note of the sun’s path across the sky. You’ll notice that it’s migrating northward. Birds and butterflies are migrating northward in response to the change in daylight, following the path of the sun. Warmer weather comes with longer days. Individuals are abandoning their winter clothing. Trees are budding, and plants are starting a new growth cycle. Spring flowers are starting to bloom in many places. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the days are becoming shorter and the nights are becoming longer. There’s a cold in the air. Autumn has arrived, and winter is on its way!

5. The Persian New Year is celebrated on the Spring Equinox: “Navroz Mobarak!” On the Iranian solar calendar, the vernal equinox coincides with the first day of the first month. It’s also the start of Nowruz, a fantastic 13-day celebration known as the Iranian New Year. Nowruz is celebrated by 300 million people worldwide (mostly in Central and Western Asia), and it is preceded by a frenzy of domestic activities. Following the completion of spring cleaning, families enjoy indulgent dinners and, on occasion, paint eggs to symbolize fertility. On the last Tuesday before the equinox, people jump over bonfires as part of a tradition. This represents the sense of freshness that the new year brings. Another ritual involves children banging on pots and going door-to-door soliciting treats.

6. Around the equinoxes, things shift quickly: Because the Earth never stops rotating around the sun, the positions of dawn and sunset, as well as days with roughly equal amounts of sunlight and darkness, will change rapidly. The Earth’s terminator – the dividing line between day and night – becomes vertical at the equinox and connects the north and south poles. Every day, at the same local time, the Meteosat satellite captured these infrared photographs of the Earth from geosynchronous orbit. The video began during the September equinox, with the terminator line vertical.

7. For decades, Shintoists have utilized solar events to commemorate their forefathers. In 1948, the Japanese government formalized this practice as a secular national holiday known as Vernal Equinox Day. It is still observed today. Most Christian groups celebrate Easter on the Sunday following the first full moon after March 21. What makes this date so special? It is, after all, the ecclesiastical Spring Equinox. Every astronomer will tell you that the spring equinox can occur on March 19, 20, or 21. Yet, for the sake of convenience, many church leaders regard March 21 as if it were the designated spring equinox date every year. Easter can fall as early as March 22 or as late as April 25. On this day, a snake-like shadow appears to slither along one flank of Mexico’s El Castillo pyramid, possibly in honor of a serpent god.

These are some of the interesting facts about Spring Equinox. Kindly share and do post your comments.

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