Spring officially begins with the vernal equinox today – though it hardly feels like it in the eastern U.S., where winter is making an unwelcome comeback.
At 6:45 p.m. EDT on March 20, the sun appears directly overhead at Earth’s equator, marking the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the spring equinox has the unusual distinction of coinciding withboth a supermoon and a total solar eclipse. According to timeanddate.com, there hasn’t been a solar eclipse on either the March or September equinox since 1662!
We won’t have to wait 353 years for the next equinox solar eclipse, however. Another total solar eclipse will occur on March 20, 2034, followed by an annular eclipse in 2053. Unfortunately, like this year’s eclipse, neither of these will be visible from North America.
But while much of the world missed out on today’s eclipse, there are still plenty of reasons to look skyward. The spring equinox is one of only two days of the year when all places on Earth (outside the polar regions) see the sun rise at due east and set at due west along the horizon. With neither hemisphere tilted away from or toward the sun, all latitudes get approximately 12 hours of daylight and darkness.