What to know about the vernal equinox

By: Brittany Bedi
March 20, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Spring officially started at 6:29 a.m. on Monday, March 20. That is the time that the vernal (spring) equinox occurred.

What is the vernal equinox?

The vernal equinox is the point that the sun’s direct rays cross over the equator. Equinox is Latin for “equal nights.” During the equinox, the north and south hemisphere will receive nearly equal amounts of sunlight. This equinox signals the beginning of spring.

What causes seasons?

Earth is tilted 23.4 degrees on its axis. The earth orbits the sun in an elliptical shape, similar to an oval. Seasons depend on which hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. After the spring equinox, the northern hemisphere will be in a position where it is tilted toward the sun.

What does this mean for Florida and Georgia?

Since Florida and Georgia are in the northern hemisphere, it will receive more sunlight each day through the summer solstice (June 21, 2017). Earth’s tilt places the northern hemisphere closer to the sun, meaning generally warmer weather as well.

When will days get shorter?

The days will get shorter after the summer solstice on June 21, 2017. After that day, the earth will begin moving to a point in its orbit where the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun.

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