Spring Equinox 2019 – what is the Vernal Equinox and when was the first day of spring?

WE can finally herald the arrival of spring as the Spring Equinox is finally here – with daylight hours becoming longer.

March 20 marks the date – but does this mean winter has officially finished and is it the same thing as the Vernal Equinox? Here's what you need to know.

When is the Spring Equinox?

Good news for those counting down the days until warmer weather – the 2019 Spring Equinox is here!

For some March 20 also marks the first official day of spring – but meteorologists argue that it's actually March 1.

The Met Office tends to use the meteorological seasons, these are based on the annual temperature cycle and the state of the atmosphere.

The day is celebrated with rituals at significant locations such as Stone Henge.

What is the Vernal Equinox?

Equinox means equality of night and day – meaning the length of day and night are about the same, 12 hours each.

This is the time when the sun passes the celestial equator and days become longer – no more going to work in pitch darkness.

The Vernal Equinox is another name given to the Spring Equinox and labels the March Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the March Equinox is called the Autumnal Equinox.

In September the equinoxes are labelled vice versa – the Northern Hemisphere experiencing an Autumnal Equinox and the Southern Hemisphere having their Vernal Equinox.

The equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator.

It is at this time that the Northern Hemisphere marks the first day of astronomical spring.

When date does the Vernal Equinox fall on in March?

The 2019 Vernal Equinox is the same thing as the Spring Equinox and falls on March 20.

The different seasons are caused by the Earth rotating around the Sun.

The way the Earth rotates means that certain areas of the globe are tilted towards the Sun while other parts are tilted away from it.

This means there are different levels of sunlight reaching each part of the globe, causing the seasons.

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