Today is the first Earth-Solar event of 2021 — the Vernal Equinox. It happened early in the USA: 5:37 AM on the east coast, 2:37 AM on the west coast. Here in Minnesota, it happened at 4:37 AM. It marks the first official day of Spring — time to switch from winter coats to lighter jackets!
Have you ever thought the Solstices seem more static than the Equinoxes? The Winter Solstice particularly, awaiting the sun’s return, does it seem like the change in sunrise and sunset time seems stalled?
If you have, you’re not wrong. Here’s why…
Wow, for the third time this month (third time in a week) I’ve realized the day calls for a post I hadn’t planned. The first time was when the MLB delayed the baseball season. The second time — the very next day — was Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday.
This time it’s the equinox (and a friend’s birthday; shout out!). For those of us in the northern hemisphere it’s the spring (vernal) equinox, and that’s my favorite of the four annual solar node points (two equinoxes; two solstices). It means we have a whole half a year of light ahead.
So I just had to post something.
In the March Mathness post I mentioned that one reason I love March is that it contains the Vernal Equinox, the official astronomical start of Spring. More importantly to me, it means six months of more daylight than darkness, and as much as I’m a night person, I prefer long, sunny days.
Well, today is the day! The equinox happened at 21:58 UTC (two minutes before 5:00 PM locally). What’s better is that, after all the miserable bitter cold and all that snow in February and into March, the weather is indeed finally turning. Deeply embedded in our mythologies is the idea of spring rebirth; New Year’s parties aside, this, today, is the true new year.
And the forecast is for muon showers!
It’s Friday, and I’m sure you’re thinking about the weekend, so today will be just a review and some more details about the speed of light.
And speaking of light, today is the Vernal Equinox. For the next six months (for those of us in the northern hemisphere), our days will be longer than our nights. No doubt the combination of spring, the Equinox, and the weekend, have you wondering what you’re doing at your computer reading about Special Relativity.
So I’ll try to be very brief…
Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015, RIP
My mom died a year ago today. Yesterday I attended a memorial service for my best friend’s mom, who died this past February. Also in February, Leonard Nimoy took a final bow and exited stage left. Most recently — just last Thursday — another star went out, and it was one that shone brilliantly in the sky for so many of us.
Sir Terry Pratchett finally got to meet one of his key characters. I like to think that, for him, it might have been like meeting an old friend — and sadly, a visitor he’s been expecting for quite a while now. We fans know that Death personally attends the passing of wizards.
And Terry Pratchett was a wizard beyond compare.
There is an old saying about March coming in like a lion (and going out like a lamb). The reverse is also imagined: if it comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion. Weather mythology aside, March does have some significant dates for me.
One is “Vern’s Equal Ox” — a day of rejoicing for Lovers of the Light. Our days will now be longer than our nights. That’s less than two weeks away. The coming Saturday is a doubly special date (especially this year), but more about that another day. Lastly, March contains the birthday of one of the four people I consider life-long best friends.
Trumping it all right now: last night I had my first fully lucid dream!
Ever looping, ever spinning,
Passes a point.
Ever higher, ever warmer,
Melts all the snow.
Ever turning, ever changing,
Brings forth fresh life.
Winter’s silence fades.
Birds sing, life renews.
A new year begins.