Vernal Equinox 2013

Today is the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. The new astronomical season officially began at 11:02 UTC, which is 7:02 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time.

Seasons are the result of the tilt of the Earth’s axis, a 23.5° angle. Today, as spring begins, the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. As a result, we receive approximately equal hours of day and night.

The spring equinox usually marks the end of winter’s chill and the gradual return of warmth.  This year, however, many people across the U.S. are experiencing conditions that feel more like the Dead of Winter.  These unseasonably cool temperatures are expected to remain in place for the near future as the polar jet stream continues to dip south over a large portion of the country.

A frosty start to spring in NYC

A frosty start to spring in NYC

Image Credit: The Weather Gamut

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.