Though It Doesn't Feel Like It In Parts Of The Country, It's Really Spring! | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Though It Doesn't Feel Like It In Parts Of The Country, It's Really Spring!

Don't tell Chicago, Buffalo or Minneapolis — which will see high temperatures just in the 20s, today — but at 7:02 a.m. ET., the Earth's axis was neither tilted from nor toward the sun, marking the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.

So: Happy spring equinox!

The National Weather Service provides this explanation for what's happening with the Earth's orbit:

"On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night". However, even if this is widely accepted, it isn't entirely true. In reality equinoxes don't have exactly 12 hours of daylight.

"The March equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth's equator – from south to north. This happens either on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. On any other day of the year, the Earth's axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth's axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun."

We know that's not much comfort for those of you stuck with winter-like temperatures. But The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang reminds us that the equinox also begins another process.

From now on, "the sun's declination – or height with respect to the horizon – is increasing at its fastest pace of the year."

That means more sunlight every day, which means that no matter how hard winter tries to overstay its welcome, "spring can't be far behind."

(Beijing, by the way experienced a rare spring snowstorm.)

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Tea, Tao and Tourists: China's Mount Hua Is Three-Part Harmony

One of China's five sacred mountains, Mount Hua is a lotus-shaped range of peaks and hub of Taoism. It has many harrowing paths to well-being — and to tea.
NPR

Tea, Tao and Tourists: China's Mount Hua Is Three-Part Harmony

One of China's five sacred mountains, Mount Hua is a lotus-shaped range of peaks and hub of Taoism. It has many harrowing paths to well-being — and to tea.
NPR

A Timeline Of Hillary Clinton's Evolution On Trade

The presidential hopeful has had trouble being consistent on trade. Labor unions are important in Democratic politics, but her work as secretary of state is putting her in a bind on trade.
NPR

What Can #NOLASCHOOLS Teach Us?

Michel Martin is hosting a conversation about education in New Orleans, ten years after Hurricane Katrina sparked a transformation of public schools there. Add your voice at #NOLASCHOOLS.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.