Thursday, March 19, 2020

Science of the Vernal Equinox

Happy arrival of astronomical Spring!  For this year's celebration, I'm going back to my tradition of explaning the science behind the event, beginning with Lowell Observatory's When is the Spring Equinox (2020)?

The spring equinox in 2020 occurs on Thursday, March 19 at 8:49 pm Pacific (11:49 pm Eastern). Equinoxes and solstices are all about the tilt of the Earth's rotation axis relative to its orbit around the Sun. On both equinoxes, the sun rises due east, and it sets due west, no matter where you are on the earth.

In this video, we'll go to the Giovale Open Deck Observatory at Lowell Observatory ( to see how the spring equinox looks from the ground. This observing plaza is bordered by six markers that are aligned to the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets on the summer solstice, the winter solstice and the two equinoxes. (It’s like a modern-day Stonehenge.)
That's informative, but a bit dry.  For something snappier, I recommend 13News Now's SCIENCE BEHIND: The Spring Equinox 2020.

The Spring Equinox 2020 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 11:49 p.m. on Thursday, March 19.
That's a good science segment, especially for a local TV newscast.  Maybe I will check out others in this series.

Stay tuned for the last entry of the ninth year of this blog, which I plan to be an update of John Oliver on coronavirus.  Yes, the pandemic is moving that fast.

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