NewsMarch 19, 2014

The Best View You'll See of the Spring Equinox

Brian Kahn

By Brian Kahn

Follow @blkahn

The spring equinox arrives on Thursday. That might have many people living in the eastern half of the country hoping that cold weather will finally exit the region. But in the meantime, at least enjoy the view of the equinox from space courtesy of NASA’s Earth Observatory.

The equinox is a function of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. On March 20, the tilt of the Earth in relation to Sun is zero. The same thing happens on September 20, which marks the fall equinox.

That doesn’t mean day and night are equal all across the planet, but it does make for some fantastic imagery. NASA’s Earth Observatory spliced a view of the planet from space for a whole year. In it, you can clearly see the transition through the seasons based on how much light reaches different parts of the globe.RELATEDWhat Winds From 20 Massive Winter Storms Look Like
Watch 63 Years of Global Warming in 14 Seconds
The Year in Weather Like Never Seen Before
Watch 27 Years of ‘Old’ Arctic Ice Melt Away in Seconds

Though the equinox arrives consistently on March 20, climate change is helping alter the timing of spring in the U.S. Researchers looking at “first leaf” date for a number of plants as a proxy for spring saw that spring started 3 days earlier during the period of 1991-2010 compared to 1961-1980. Parts of the country including the Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are seeing spring arrive up to a week sooner. That's a comparatively small increase, but it could upset a balance that plants and animals have developed over hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

You May Also Like
A Cold U.S. Winter for Sure, but 8th Warmest Globally
White House Brings Together Big Data & Climate Change
Wood Burning for Home Heating Trendy in Northeast
CO2 on Path to Cross 400 ppm Threshold for a Month