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Spring Equinox is on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012 by staff 

Spring Equinox is on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, The first day of northern hemisphere spring and southern hemisphere autumn for 2012 is Tuesday March 20, 2012. The vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of northern hemisphere spring, is actually not a day but an instant in time.

This year the vernal equinox is at 5:14 coordinated universal time on March 20. That would be just after midnight in the Eastern Standard Time zone and just after 9 pm on March 19 in the Pacific Standard Time zone.

The vernal equinox occurs when the Sun, as seen from Earth, is directly above the equator moving from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. On the day of the equinox the Sun rises and sets directly in the east and west. After the vernal equinox the Sun rises and sets north of due east and west.

Before the vernal equinox the Sun rises and sets south of east and west.

As the Sun appears further north in the sky, days become longer in the northern hemisphere and shorter in the southern hemisphere. In addition the Sun appears more nearly directly overhead in the northern hemisphere and lower in the sky in the southern hemisphere.

Therefore the Sun’s energy shines more directly and is less spread out in the northern hemisphere. It will get warmer (spring) in the northern hemisphere and cooler (fall) in the southern hemisphere. The tilt of Earth’s rotation axis causes this effect and the reversal of the seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres.

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