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

Bill Cunningham, Iconic 'New York Times' Photographer, Dies At 87

Cunningham worked at the Times for almost 40 years, capturing the fashion trends of the day with a timeless eye.
NPR

With A Zap, Scientists Create Low-Fat Chocolate

Scientists say they've figured out how to reduce the fat in milk chocolate by running it through an electric field. The result is healthier, but is it tastier?
NPR

Tracing The 43-Year History Of The U.K. In The European Union

The U.K. joined the European Union in 1973, hoping to gain from the booming economies on the continent. Historian Timothy Garton Ash explains the reasons why, and how the relationship soured.
NPR

President Obama Acknowledges 'Brexit' To Silicon Valley Crowd

President Obama delivered a speech Friday at Stanford University, and remarked on the Brexit vote in front of a crowd of young, tech-forward, pro-globalization attendees from 170 countries.

Leave a Comment

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