Happy, happy, happy, happy Equinox!
One of the things I love most about spring is the lengthening of the days and shortening of the nights. Don’t you? And one of the days I love best is "over-the-hump day" when winter finally ends and spring officially begins, which just happens to be TODAY! The new season officially began at 12:57 p.m. ET today—a precise and fixed point in time. Birds were singing, trees and gardens all popping with blossoms, perfume in the air... All good!
This year, March 20th (today) marks the spring equinox which, in the astronomical system of seasons, is the true first day of spring. It was a glorious balmy day in the Atlanta GA area. After a long and brutal winter, we welcome this season of rebirth, regrowth and renewal of the Earth as plants begin to bloom and we all experience a slight taste of the warmer months to come. The first official day of spring is marked annually by the vernal equinox. For 2014, the vernal equinox is March 20, 2014.
A quick Google search turned up all kinds of fun facts about this day. Here are just a few:
- Originating from Latin, the word equinox comes from Aequus (equal) and nox (night). Equinox means 'equal nights,' as in equal hours of both day and night. Thus, the equinoxes mark the days of the year when day and night are roughly the same length.
- The Spring or Vernal Equinox is defined as moment when the sun crosses the equator going south to north. The date the spring and autumn equinoxes fall each year fluctuates by a day, sometimes two days, because of Earth's orbit around the sun.
- According to tradition, the fall and spring equinoxes are the only two times during the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west, as the center of the sun passes directly over the Equator. Exactly when this appears to happen may depend on where you are located on the surface of the Earth
- At that instant that the plane of Earth's equator passes the center of the Sun, the tilt of our planet's axis neither inclines away from nor towards the Sun.
Isn't all of this science and tradition interesting? But the most interesting thing to me is the resulting change of season and the promise of long and sunny days to come. One thing is for sure: the true spring season seems to finally have arrived in Georgia to stay, and I can;t hide how happy I am about that!