Spring is in the air, and today sees the Vernal Equinox – which officially marks the beginning of the Spring season in the Northern Hemisphere.
If you live in the UK, that means the daffodils are blooming, blossom is on the trees, Easter is coming, and lambing season will soon be getting underway.
Spring Equinox 2017 Wealth Forecast:
Here’s everything you need to know about the first day of spring.
Why does the Vernal Equinox happen?
The equinox occurs because of the tilt of the Earth in relation to the Sun. This is what causes the seasons.
The Earth’s tilt is 23.5 degrees relative to the plane of its orbit and means that, although one revolution of the planet takes 24 hours, it’s different depending on the time of year.
During the summer time, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun, so we get longer days as more light falls on this part of the planet.
In the winter time, it’s the Southern Hemisphere that gets most the light.
On the spring equinox, the Earth hits the turning point in its orbit where neither the North or the South poles are tilted towards the sun.
As a result, the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, so night and day are about the same length.
The word equinox is Latin for “equal night”.
Meteorologists use it as the official turning point in the seasons because, although it can vary from year to year, it allows for the most accurate record-keeping.
When is the spring equinox?
This year, the vernal (or spring) equinox takes place on Monday, March 20.
After this point, the days will get longer and the nights will get shorter until the summer solstice on June 21, when the pattern will reverse.
How is the spring equinox celebrated?
Equinoxes and solstices mark key stages in the astronomical cycle of the Earth.
The March equinox has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth in the Northern Hemisphere.
Many cultures celebrate spring festivals and holidays around the March equinox, like Easter and Passover.
However, there are also a few more unorthodox celebrations – some of which date back thousands of years.
How Google is Celebrating spring equinox 2017
Google is celebrating the spring equinox 2017 with one of its animated doodles.
The doodle shows a mouse waking up from hibernation in its underground burrow, and rushing outside to pick a daffodil to put in a jar.
In the southern hemisphere, where today marks the first day of autumn, Google’s doodle shows the mouse wearing a scarf, and hopping through fallen leaves to get back to its burrow.
When it gets inside, it hops up on a cotton bobbin and takes a drink from a steaming cup of tea.