Spring will start on different days across the United States. On Sunday 20, the sun will cross the celestial equator going from north to south, giving 12 hours of sunlight. This astronomical event is known as the vernal equinox.
Equinoxes occur just two times per year, and they usually mark the moment when spring and autumn begin. The Equinoxes are the only time when sun rays impact directly over the equator. As a result, the duration of night and day are very similar all around the world, which means that day and night last exactly 12 hours each.
This year, the vernal equinox will occur at different times across the country, depending on the location. Spring begins exactly at 12:30 a.m. eastern time on Sunday 20. However, in places that use Central, Mountain and Pacific Time, it will begin on Saturday, March 19.
Specifically, it will take place at 11:30 p.m. in Central time, 10:30 p.m. in Mountain Time, and 9:30 p.m. in Pacific Time, according to Kiro 7. It appears that this is not a common phenomenon because last time it occurred was in 1979 and then in 2012. However, next time it happens again will be in 2037.
The equinoxes are an interesting time for Astronomers, because March 19, 20 or 21 and September 22 are the only dates in the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west, according to Mr. Geoff Gaherty, the writer at Starry Night EDU.
2016 has also the earliest spring since 1896. And the tendency will continue throughout the 21th century. The earliest March equinox will occur in the year 2096.
The March equinox is celebrated worldwide
Many cultures celebrate the March Equinox and the beginning of spring as a time of rebirth. Some celebrate Easter while other cultures also celebrate the flowering of many trees. For instance, Japan praises the arrival of cherry blossom (sakura).
Holi Festival or Spring Festival is also celebrated close to the March Equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima, which means full moon. It is one of the major festivals of India, and it is worldwide recognized because everyone gets full of dry colored powder and coloured water.
Source: Kiro 7