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Happy Vernal Equinox 2020

Today (Thursday, March 19th) is the first official day of spring for the northern hemisphere! The word vernal is latin for "pertaining to or occurring in spring", and is also used to describe something as "spring-like, fresh, or young".

I know some of you are thinking there must be a mistake, because "normally" the equinox occurs on March 20th or 21st, but both 2000 and 2020 were leap years & we implemented daylight savings time in early March. This is where it gets technical...the equinox is not really a day but a specific moment and in 2020 vernal equinox is on March 19 at 11:49pm EDT = 8:49pm PST.

On the vernal equinox, the sun will spend roughly 12 hours above & below the horizon, if you are on the equator. In reality, the number of hours of daylight is already longer than 12 hours due to the way we define sunrise & sunset relative to the horizon. Equal hours of daylight & dark (night) for any non-equatorial location occurs on the equilux, which occurs at a unique day & time for each latitude on Earth. For those of us north of equator, the equilux occurred within the last few days. Today, those at the North Pole get to experience their first sunrise of 2020, and they won't see their next sunset until the autumnal equinox in September. Enjoy the nighttime hours while they last!

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