Vernal Equinox – First Day of Spring 2009

By Daria Belov

The 2009 first day of spring is upon us, and March Madness, NCAA Tournaments, and approaching Easter holidays are the air. The start of spring is referred to as the Vernal Equinox (aka spring equinox) and it’s a time when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither towards nor away from the Sun, with the Sun being vertically above the Earth’s Equator.

Yosemite National Park California(photo: Yosemite National Park – Springtime in California)

This year (2009) the 1st day of spring is on March 20th, which may have some of you scratching your heads wondering why it’s not on March 21. While we’ve traditionally celebrated the beginning of spring on March 21, seasonal dates can vary from year to year, since the Earth’s elliptical orbit changes, years and seasons are not even numbers of days, and other planets gravitational pull affects Earth’s location in its orbit around the sun.

The Vernal Equinox (or Spring Equinox if you prefer) occurs at 11:44 EDT – Eastern Daylight Time (but I’ve seen some say it’s at 7:43 EDT). For those not time savvy (like me) EDT is 4 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Knowing it’s the first day of spring is good enough for me. 🙂

For many inhabiting the earths northern hemisphere, spring brings flowers, while April brings showers. Don’t take my word that it won’t rain near you, but we are moving closer to first day of summer. Yippee! While most of the U.S. is still thawing out from winter, birds and other wildlife are busily engaging in mating season, springtime is magically uplifting (except for maybe the week of April 15th).

Astronomically, spring in the Northern Hemisphere lasts until the summer solstice, or the first day of summer. June 21 is the first day of summer for 2009. I was use to “21” as the day seasons change so this March 20th thing has me a bit off. Father’s Day is also on June 21st this year, and for many it’s Graduation Day as well.

Easter is on April 12th this year and Good Friday 2009 is on April 10th. Good Friday is not a national federal holiday or 2009 postal holiday, and banks, USPS, UPS and FedEx should all be up and running on April 10. Many businesses and schools do close early though so please check locally for holiday closures in your area.

OK, back to watching NCAA March Madness live online (CBS Sports should have a live stream NCAA feed), enjoy your increasingly sunny season. @ 7:24 pm | Article ID: 1237515883