Why spring happens at a specific time on a specific day

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It’s known for its new beginnings… spring will arrive in just a few days. But it’s not just a date on the calendar.

It officially arrives this Saturday. You’ll fall asleep in Winter on Friday night… and when you pry your eyes open on Saturday morning, you’ll officially wake up to a new season since Spring will officially arrive at 4:37 AM.

We are coming out of winter… the Winter Solstice was back in December. That’s when the sun’s rays were directly over what’s called the Tropic of Capricorn – whic is just south of the Equator. Our sun angles here in North Dakota are very low this time causing us to have a colder season.

Since the winter solstice, the direct sunlight has been slowly creeping back to the equator… which then brings the spring equinox. It’s when the sun’s rays are directly over the equator at a specific time on a specific day… that’s this Saturday this year. They’ll then slowly creep to a higher latitude which is why we get warmer and warmer the further we get into Spring.

As the sun’s angles get higher for us, the daylight hours expand. Our longest days are in June… after the Summer Solstice, they get shorter again.

Even though equinox means equal day and night… it’s a common misconception that we have exactly 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night on that day. But becuase of our placement on the earth, we actually achieve that early… today, in fact (3/17/21)! We’ll enjoy 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. On the 20th – the actual equinox, we will have 12 hours and ten minutes of daylight.

By the time we get to the summer solstice on June 20th, we’ll enjoy 15 hours and 52-minutes of daylight. After that, we’ll see the day shorten.

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