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First Day of Spring - Vernal Equinox
You probably know that tomorrow is the first day of spring, but do you know what determines when the seasons change? The answer is in the sky! The first days of spring and fall are determined by an equinox. It is a solstice that determines the first days of summer and winter.
An equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator. For the northern hemisphere, the vernal equinox, or spring equinox, means that the sun is heading north in the sky causing days to get longer and nights to get shorter. The opposite happens after the fall, or autumnal equinox in September.
A solstice is when sun reaches either its highest point, the summer solstice in June, or its lowest point, the winter solstice in December. At each of these two points the length of daytime vs nighttime to shifts the other direction. The summer solstice is our longest day while the winter solstice marks the longest night.
The exact dates for equinoxes and solstices vary by a day or two each year due to leap years. That is why the first day of each season may be different from one year to the next.
What will you do to celebrate the vernal equinox, and all of the beauty that it brings, tomorrow?
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