What Is The Vernal Equinox? When Will Spring Start This Year? All You Need To Know
Vernal equinox 2023 brings spring to the Northern Hemisphere and for the year 2023, the date is March 20.
On the equinox date, the length of daylight is actually longer than darkness by several minutes and symbolizes the end of winter and the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
There are two moments in the year when the Sun is exactly above the Equator. At that time the day and night are of equal length. Either of the two points in the sky where the ecliptic (the Sun’s annual pathway) and the celestial equator intersect.
Why does the Vernal Equinox occur?
- The vernal equinox falls about March 20 or 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, when the Sun crosses the celestial equator which goes north.
- While in the Southern Hemisphere, the equinox falls on September 22 or 23, when the Sun moves south across the celestial equator.
- Astronomically it is defined by the seasons.
- The vernal equinox also marks the beginning of spring, which lasts until the summer solstice which is on June 20 or 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, and December 21 or 22 in the Southern Hemisphere.
When will Spring Equinox Occur?
- Monday, March 20, at 5:24 p.m. EDT (2:24 p.m. PDT) the spring (or vernal) equinox occurred for the year 2023.
- Here the sun comes to one of two places its rays shine directly down on the where equator. It will then be shining equally on both halves of the Earth.
- More precisely at that moment, the sun will be shining directly down on the equator at a point over the Pacific Ocean, roughly 1,900 miles (3,100 km) southeast of the Hawaiian Islands.
- When most of us were growing up, it always seemed that the first day of spring was on March 21, not March 20.
- But now for North Americans, spring begins on March 20. In fact, during the 20th century, March 21 was actually the exception rather than the rule, with the equinox landing on that day only 36 times.
- From the years 1980 through 2102, it comes no later than March 20.
Will the date change next year?
- It is predicted that next year spring will officially begin on March 19.
- This shift in dates happens because the Earth's elliptical orbit changes the orientation of its axis and because our year does not contain an even number of days.
- The vagaries of our Gregorian calendar, such as the inclusion of a leap day in century years divisible by 400 also help contribute to the seasonal date shift. Had the year 2000 not been a leap year, the equinox would be occurring this year on Tuesday (March 21), not Monday.
Vernal Equinox: Effects
And there are also plenty more effects in play around the time of the March equinox that all of us can notice.
- March equinox brings earlier sunrises, later sunsets, and sprouting plants in the Northern Hemisphere.
- At the south of the equator, the season is the opposite. One can observe later sunrises, earlier sunsets, chillier winds, and dry and falling leaves.
- The equinoxes and solstices are caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and ceaseless motion in orbit.
Signs of the Vernal Equinox in nature
- In terms of daylight, one can notice the arc of the sun across the sky each day.
- You’ll also discover that it’s shifting toward the north.
- In response to the change in daylight, birds and butterflies migrate back northward along with the path of the sun.
- The longer days bring warmer weather.
- Trees start budding, and plants begin a new cycle of growth.
- In many places, spring flowers begin to bloom.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, the days get shorter and nights longer and a chill is in the air.
The 2023 March equinox occurred on March 20 at 21:24 UTC.
What Is The Autumnal Equinox, And When Will Fall Begin This Year? Get All These Questions Answered Here.
Nowruz 2023: Google Doodle Celebrates The Persian New Year, Find Out About The History, Significance, And Other Details Here