The Spring Equinox Has Arrived!

We did it, New England! The Vernal Equinox arrived at 6:28am on March 20th, signifying the first day of Spring, the beginning of our longest days of the year, and the promise of warmer days to come. So, what does the Spring Equinox mean and why does it matter? Why do we care about the Equinox? Read on to find out!

spring equinox

#1 – Surface to Surface in About 8 Minutes

The light and warmth that we enjoy from the sun travels from its surface to ours in approximately 8 minutes. That “approximately” matters a lot, because the distance between the Sun and Earth changes throughout the year. Our orbit around the Sun is not a perfect circle. We travel around it on an elliptical orbit, and the distance between us can range from 91.4 million miles (the Perihelion, in January) to 94.5 million miles (the Aphelion, in July). Which brings us to our next fact:

spring equinox

#2 – Distance Does Not a Season Make

You may have noticed that we are farthest away from the Sun during our warmest months of the year. A common misconception about the seasons is that we are closest to the Sun during the summer and farther away during the Winter. When it comes to the seasons, it is not the miles that matter, but tilt of the Earth’s axis.

As you may recall from high school science class, Earth spins on an axis that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole, but that axis is not a straight up and down. It’s tilted slightly, and it’s tilted in the same direction throughout the year, which changes the strength of the Sun’s rays as they reach the Earth’s surface. The seasons are determined by this tilt and how far we are leaning toward or away from the Sun (which stays in its position relative to us). We’re coming up on the time when we’re leaning into the Sun’s rays again, which means extra warmth and longer days.

#3 – Equinox Means Equal Distribution

There are two Equinox days during the year: one in the Spring (“Vernal”) and one in the Fall (“Autumn”). Because of the names, we associate the Equinoxes with the seasons, but they have little to do with weather and more to do with time. On Equinox days, the Northern and Southern hemispheres are equally illuminated by the Sun, and the day and night are just about equal in duration. Not totally equal, but just about. The days get significantly longer as we march toward the Summer Solstice (June 21st this year) and, of course, the temperatures get warmer because we enjoy more of the Sun’s rays.

So, what does it all mean for you? Well, breathe easy: longer, warmer days are coming! Think about how you are going to spend them! Perhaps this is your year to start a garden? If you are a proud Solar Five customer, your most productive days are ahead of you!