Spring has arrived

tree-in-springHOLT, Fla., March 20, 2017—Today marks the first day of spring for Holt, as well as for the United States and the rest of the northern hemisphere.

It also begins the first day of autumn for the southern hemisphere. As the daylight hours lengthen here, the days shorten for locations such as Australia and New Zealand, most of South America and the lower half of Africa.

The Latin word “equinox” means “equal night.”

Known as the vernal or spring equinox, this is the first of two days during the year when there’s equal hours of day and night—12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness—for both hemispheres.

The days will continue to get longer until the summer solstice June 21. They won’t be equal again until the autumnal or fall equinox in September.

On the equinox, the sun’s rays strike the earth perpendicularly on the equator. Think of the equator as a piece of paper cutting the earth in half. This flat surface or plane of the equator travels toward the sun and passes through its center on the equinox.

Or think of the edge between day and night equally divided, as in the diagram below. The edge of the split is perpendicular to the sun’s rays.

Also, on the equinox, the sun rises due east and sets due west, making it a good time to determine true east and west.

For the Holt area, this start of spring promises to bring warmer days, cool nights and low humidity for most of the week, with a high on Wednesday expected to be in the mid 80s making this a pleasant start to the new season.

Stephanie Holcombe

Equinox

During the equinox, there is equal hours of daylight and darkness. The sun’s rays are perpendicular to Earth’s equator. Illustration courtesy of Wikipedia

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