Today Spring begins. Weird as it is foggy here in Southern California. I guess the cool nights and warm days is the reason. If you click this link you can find a live shot of the Slooh Observatory in the Canary Islands, Spain. It is a beautiful view.
**Celebrate the March 2017 equinox with our live telescope show on Monday, March 20! Find out more information—plus, equinox facts and folklore—as we observe the return of sunshine, longer days, and warmer temperatures.
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!
Astronomically speaking, the equinox falls on March 19 or 20 every year, marking spring’s beginning in the Northern Hemisphere (whereas it announces fall’s arrival in the Southern Hemisphere). The equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, even if our clock times reflect a different time zone.
Meteorologically speaking, in the Northern Hemisphere, the official spring season always begins on March 1 and continues through May 31. Summer begins on June 1; autumn, September 1; and winter, December 1.
- Weather scientists divide the year into quarters this way to make it easier to compare seasonal and monthly statistics from one year to the next. The meteorological seasons are based on annual temperature cycles rather than on the position of Earth in relation to the Sun, and they more closely follow the Gregorian calendar. Using the dates of the astronomical equinoxes and solstices for the seasons would present a statistical problem because these dates can vary slightly each year.
WHAT IS AN EQUINOX?
At the Vernal Equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic.
All over the world, days and nights are approximately equal. The name equinox comes from Latin words which mean “equal night”—aequus (equal) and nox (night).
Enjoy the increasing sunlight hours, with earlier dawns and later sunsets. See your personalized Sun rise and set calculator.
On the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the Sun’s rays about equally because the tilt of the Earth is zero relative to the Sun, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (Note, however, that the Earth never orbits upright, but is always tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees.)
Scientific explanation aside, our ancestors were more connected to the Sun than we are today. They observed its pathway across the sky; they tracked how the sunrise, sunset, and daylength changed, using the Sun (and Moon) as a clock and calendar. If you have ever been to Stonehenge or Machu Picchu, you’ll see examples of ancient seasonal markers.