We are just finishing the darkest part of the year in the Northern Hemisphere referred to as the solar winter or the quarter of the year with the least amount of sunlight. Starting February 5th, we began a period of more sunlight that will peak at the summer solstice, which occurs in 2012 on June 20th.
In between we have the Spring Equinox. Equinox literally means 'equal night' and occurs twice a year. On the Spring or Vernal Equinox the Sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours and sets exactly in the west. On this date... March 20, 2012 ... the sun is directly over the equator. Every place on earth experiences a 12 hour day twice a year on the Spring and Fall Equinox.
It's because of the 23.4 degree tilt of the Earth's axis that we experience these changes. The date is significant in Christianity because Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. It is also probably no coincidence that early Egyptians built the Great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising Sun on the day of the vernal equinox.
3 weeks ago