What is the Vernal Equinox?

(WYMT) - Though the 2016-2017 winter season was mild, March 20th marked its official end and the astronomical spring is back in season.

Credit: EUMETSAT

About an hour before the sun rose Monday morning, something that only happens twice a year took place.

NASA scientists explained the occurrence early Monday morning.

"So normally when then earth moves around the sun, it actually spins at a tilt. So that means that most of the year, the northern and southern hemispheres are not equally illuminated by the sun's light," said Dr. Alex Young.

On March 20th, the sun equally illuminates the northern and southern hemisphere and we experience an equal amount of night and day. Hence the name, 'equinox'.

"Equinox, in latin, means equal night and that's exactly what is happening today. The day and night are of equal length," said Dr. Nicki Viall.

The equinox does not last long, though. In the coming days, the earth will begin to tilt toward the sun.

"For part of the year, the Northern Hemisphere - where we live - will be pointed toward the sun and receive a longer day and more sunlight," Dr. Viall said.

And signs of spring and summer will begin popping before you know it.



 
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