Astronomy | Culture | History | Stargazing

Finding Balance: The Vernal Equinox

If you’ve been seeking balance in your life, today’s your day. March 20 brings balance to the earth once again. The sun is positioned directly over the equator, making the day and night exactly the same. If you love the idea of yin and yang and skating the line between order and chaos, then March 20, 2022 is your happy place.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere who prefer day to night, this is good news. You’ll have more and more of the former. For friends in the Southern Hemisphere, well, you’ll have more time for stargazing and romantic evenings. The Northern Hemisphere began this slow tilt back towards the sun on December 21st on the winter solstice, and will finish its tilt and start heading back away from it on June 21st, the summer solstice. For those keeping score the next vernal equinox will occur on September 22nd.

These are the four quadrants of the year, making one wonder why the calendar year wasn’t set to these four reference points. The answer is that the calendar year was originally set to the beginning of farming season, which in Rome meant March 1. March, being the “first” month, was named for Mars (there’s an interesting article about how the months got their names here). So much of who we are today was derived from those Romans.

So, lovers of balance, celebrate today like it’s the last day on earth, because it is but a one day celebration. Tomorrow day and night are once again out of balance. The earth is permanently off-kilter, and this odd fact both explains and sustains those of us who inhabit this crazy planet. Perfect only happens 2 out of 365 days per year. For those of us who are far from perfect, the other 99.5 % of the year is our time for celebration. Cheers!

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