September 2, 2014

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It's Spring: The sun says new season, despite lingering winter cold

By: Justin Grieser

At the equinox, all latitudes see about 12 hours of daylight and darkness as Earth rotates on its axis.

It still feels like winter in many parts of the country, but Earth’s orbit says otherwise.

At 7:02 a.m. last Wednesday, March 20, 2013, astronomical winter ended as spring officially began in Earth’s northern hemisphere.

Astronomically, the spring equinox marks the moment at which Earth’s axis tilts neither away from nor toward the sun, resulting in nearly equal periods of daylight and darkness across the globe. An observer on Earth’s equator will see the sun at zenith before its direct rays shift northward toward the Tropic of Cancer over the next three months.