BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The vernal equinox is Wednesday, Mar. 20, which means it’s time to play with eggs! Yes, that’s right. It’s said you can balance an egg on its end on the vernal equinox.
And holy cow, it’s true! Oops, wait a minute “they” forgot to tell everyone it’s true every day of the year.
Here are a couple of non-myth factoids about the spring (and fall) equinox:
- The spring equinox is also referred to as the vernal equinox, while the fall equinox is also called the autumnal equinox. However, while we may choose to use fall and autumn interchangeably, “vern” is not a season.
- On the spring (and fall) equinox, the sun rises due east and sets due west at every point on Earth, with the exceptions of the North and South Poles (where it technically never rises or sets on the equinox).
- Daylength (the duration of direct sunlight under clear skies) for both equinoxes is roughly the same for every location on the planet (again, with the exception of the poles). However, the Latin term equinox, meaning “equal nights,” can be misleading. For most locations, daylength on the equinox(es) is roughly five to seven minutes more than 12 hours, with the “night time” being five to seven minutes less than 12 hours. This is due to two factors:
- Atmospheric bending of sunlight (refraction), which makes the solar disk appear higher above the horizon than it actually is.
- The most commonly accepted definition of sunrise (and sunset) is the time when the upper edge of the solar disk is aligned with the horizon. Depending on the atmospherics at play, it takes about three minutes for half of the solar disk to rise (and set) along the horizon, and that would be the true halfway point of the full solar day.
TIP FOR PARENTS
If you are going to play the balance the egg game at home, there are a couple of things to consider. True, hard-boiled eggs are going to keep this game from becoming a paper towel cleanup exercise with the youngsters. However, hard-boiled eggs are a LOT tougher to balance than uncooked eggs. Well, that’s true until you crack the shell on the hard-boiled egg; then it gets a LOT easier!