The First Day of Spring
(Also known as The Spring Equinox, The Vernal Equinox)
The First Day of Spring is observed next on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024 (172 days from today).
The First Day of Spring begins in March or the vernal equinox, which is when the amount of sunshine lasts about 12 hours. The amount of sunlight will gradually increase until the first day of summer.
History of The First Day of spring
The First Day of spring or the equinox is the time of the sun crossing the celestial equator, which is imaged in the sky above the Earth's equator, from south to north. The vernal equinox occurs on March 19, 20 or 21 every year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, this same event marks the beginning of autumn. Meteorologists mark spring from March 1 to May 31.
In 2020, spring comes a little earlier as it is a leap year. On Leap Day, there is a short math lesson on the Gregorian calendar. To keep our calendar in accordance with the seasons so that spring comes when the flowers bloom and winter comes when it snows, an additional day counts as a year divisible by four. This causes the spring of 2020 to occur earlier than any living human has ever seen. Prior to 2020, the earliest recorded spring occurred in 1896.
Interesting Things about the Spring Equinox you should know
While it's exciting to think about the warmer weather, flowers, and sun on the first day of spring, there's actually a lot more to this astronomical celebration. Keep reading to find out 5 things you probably didn't know about the vernal equinox.
1. The length of both Day and Night are the same
The equinox marks the beginning of spring when day and night are of equal length. This is a time for new beginnings, births and new beginnings. While the peaks in summer and winter mark the longest and shortest days of the year, the equinoxes occur at equal intervals of day and night.
In Latin, equinox literally means "equal night". The equinox occurs when the sun hits the equator directly on the only day of the year the inclination of the Earth's axis is perpendicular to the sun.
2. The date is up to each year
The vernal equinox does not occur on the same day every year, although it usually falls on the 19th, 20th or 21st. This is due to when the sun crosses the equator. Since Earth's orbit is always changing in relation to the sun, and not every year on Earth has the same number of days (think leap years!) the dates are not always set.
You can also mark your calendar for the vernal equinox of 2019 as March 20, but in 2020 it will fall on the 19th.
3. The tilt of the Earth and the Sun is Zero
You know how we talked about Earth's relationship with the sun? It's nice to note that the Earth's tilt is zero relative to the sun on the first day of spring. That means if you are at the equator, the sun will be directly overhead. So if you work near the equator, be sure to bring extra sunscreen for the equinox.
4. There are Two Types of Cycles
Astronomical cycle or meteorological cycle are two ways to determine the first day of spring. Astronomical cycles are always based on the March equinox. On the other hand, the meteorological cycle is based on its first day based on seasonal weather patterns and temperatures. Our meteorologists like to pay attention to both because they love the arrival of spring but understand that weather patterns may not make it spring-like for quite some time after the equinox!
5. It Starts at 12:15 p.m.
There is a very specific time for the beginning of spring. According to Farmer's Almanac, this year is 12:15 p.m. That means it will still be winter in the morning but in the afternoon you can celebrate spring!
What do you do in The First Day of spring?
On the March equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. It is called the "celestial" equator because it is an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth's equator.
If you are standing on the equator, the Sun will pass directly on its way north.
Equinoxes are the only times a year that the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west for all of us on Earth!
While the Sun passes overhead, the Earth's inclination is zero relative to the Sun, meaning that the Earth's axis is neither towards nor away from the Sun. (Note, however, that the Earth never rotates vertically, but is always tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees.)
ObservedThe First Day of Spring has been observed when the Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north.
Sunday, March 20th, 2022
Monday, March 20th, 2023
Wednesday, March 20th, 2024
Thursday, March 20th, 2025
Friday, March 20th, 2026