Saturday, March 19, 2016

Equinoxes and seasons for Vernal Equinox 2016

As I wrote in Snyder testifies before Congress about the Flint Water Crisis, I told my readers to "stay tuned for posts about the Vernal Equinox" and other topics.  It's time to follow through and wish my readers a happy arrival of astronomical spring.  Why astronomical spring and not just spring?  I'll let these two videos from PBS's It's OK To Be Smart explain.

First, The Equinox Isn't What You Think It Is

Is the equinox really when day = night?
So the equilux was a few days ago.  I'm OK with that; I could always use more daylight.

Next, the reason I called tomorrow the beginning of astronomical spring, Why Seasons Make No Sense.

See, that's why.

As for when it arrives, I'll let The Weather Channel have the honors.
This year, the vernal equinox takes place on Sunday, March 20 at 12:30 a.m. EDT, or late in the evening on Saturday, March 19 if you live in the central (11:30 p.m.), mountain (10:30 p.m.) or pacific (9:30 p.m.) time zones. 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.
In other words, the equinox isn't tomorrow for readers between Chicago and Hawaii, it's today.  Happy Equinox.  Here, have this image of Earth spinning.

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