A rabbit welcomes spring relaxing in a field and munching on clover. Courtesy/Old Farmer’s Almanac
From the Old Farmer’s Almanac:
Today marks the start of spring in the northern half of the globe. After this date, the Northern Hemisphere begins to be tilted more toward the Sun, resulting in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures.
The word equinox comes from the Latin words for “equal night”—aequus (equal) and nox (night).
On the equinox, the length of day and night is nearly equal in all parts of the world.
With the equinox, enjoy the increasing sunlight hours, with earlier dawns and later sunsets.
On the March equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator going south to north. It’s called the “celestial equator” because it’s an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator.
If you were standing on the equator, the Sun would pass directly overhead on its way north.
Equinoxes are the only two times a year that the Sun rises due east and sets due west for all of us on Earth!
While the Sun passes overhead, the tilt of the Earth is zero relative to the Sun, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (Note, however, that the Earth never orbits upright, but is always tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees.)
After the spring equinox, the Northern Hemisphere tilts toward the Sun. Although in most locations (the North Pole and Equator being exceptions) the amount of daylight had been increasing each day after the winter solstice, after the spring equinox, many places will experience more daylight than darkness in each 24-hour day. The amount of daylight each day will continue to increase until the summer solstice in June, in which the longest period of daylight occurs. Summer begins Monday, June 20.
For glad Spring has begun,
And to the ardent sun
The earth, long time so bleak,
Turns a frost-bitten cheek.
–Celia Thaxter, American poet (1835–94)