No mat­ter how you de­fine it, spring is here

Ver­nal equinox’s ar­rival means more light than dark for next six months.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Marty Toohey mtoohey@states­man.com Spring

On Mon­day at 5:38 a.m. the sun will be di­rectly above the equa­tor, mark­ing the ver­nal equinox – the ar­rival of spring. It is one of four an­nual events on the astro­nom­i­cal cal­en­dar mark­ing the change of a sea­son.

Spring is fi­nally here — by ev­ery way of mea­sur­ing its ar­rival.

Mon­day is the ver­nal equinox, the start­ing point of spring, as de­ter­mined by peo­ple who base their sea­sons on the Earth’s po­si­tion rel­a­tive to the sun and stars. Here are some an­swers to fre­quently asked ques­tions about this rite of spring:

What is the ver­nal equinox?

At 5:38 a.m. in the Cen­tral time zone, the sun is po­si­tioned so that it shines di­rectly on the equa­tor, and the north­ern and south­ern hemi­spheres re­ceive ex­actly the same amount of the sun’s rays. Night and day will be al­most equal length. This is an im­por­tant mile­stone if you’re into tra­di­tional cal­en­dars or pa­gan ri­tu­als.

Why is it im­por­tant?

In many parts of the an­cient world, four im­por­tant dates de­lin­eated the sea­sons: the sum­mer sol­stice (when spring gives way to sum­mer), the au­tum­nal equinox (when sum­mer gives way to fall), the win­ter sol­stice (fall turns to win­ter) and the ver­nal equinox (win­ter to spring).

For two days a year — the equinoxes — the sun is ex­actly above the equa­tor. And twice a year — the sol­stices — the sun hits a max­i­mum high or min­i­mum low point in the sky at noon.

These have been im­por­tant mark­ers on hu­man­ity’s jour­ney through time by help­ing peo­ple know such things as when to plant crops or bust out the short

Sources: MCT, Ty­cho Brahe Plan­e­tar­ium Al­manac STAFF

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