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

Poetry Behind Bars: The Lines That Save Lives — Sometimes Literally

Words Unlocked, a poetry contest for juveniles in corrections, has drawn more than 1,000 entries. Its judge, Jimmy Santiago Baca, says it was a poetry book that helped him survive his own prison term.
NPR

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.
NPR

Trump And Cruz Campaign At California GOP Convention

The remaining Republican presidential candidates have been making their case at the party's state convention. Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler explains the divisions on display among Republicans.
NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

Leave a Comment

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