March (vernal) equinox: what does it look like?

20 March 2007

I feel a prediction coming on: innumerable news stories tomorrow will lead with a discussion of how everywhere on Earth gets twelve hours of darkness and twelve hours of daylight.

To quote someone more prolific than I, sadly, no.

Well, okay, the Sun is was on the celestial equator at about 2p today, HST, and the Naval Observatory also says that Hilo gets twelve hours of daylight today, but there are any number of things that won’t happen today.

For one thing, the Sun will not be at its highest overhead at noon. Best description I’ve ever seen of where it is on this site. A slightly more verbose description is at Wikipedia, as usual.

Perhaps it just bears saying (since I’m running out of time, that this equinox represents the start of the new year in some systems, including the Persian calendar. Good calendar primers are here (USNO), here (Web Exhibits), and here (link to a book site).

If you’re in the mood for a little information overload about calendars, which I am (one of the reasons I’m ringing off before taking the discussion further), check this applet out.

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