Friday, 16 March 2018

Spring Equinox 2018 - Tuesday 20th March - 4.15 PM

The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the subsolar point appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth. In the Northern Hemisphere the March equinox is known as the vernal equinox, and in the Southern Hemisphere as the autumnal equinox.

On the Gregorian calendar, the Northward equinox can occur as early as 19 March or as late as 21 March. For a common year, the computed time slippage is about 5 hours 49 minutes later than the previous year and for a leap year about 18 hours 11 minutes earlier than the previous year. Balancing the increases of the common years against the losses of the leap years keeps the calendar date of the March equinox from drifting more than one day from 20 March each year.

The March equinox may be taken to mark the beginning of spring and the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere but marks the beginning of autumn and the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

In astronomy, the March equinox is the zero point of sidereal time and, consequently, right ascension. It also serves as a reference for calendars and celebrations in many human cultures and religions.