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Photo of the Day: The First Day of Spring

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These flowering blossoms remind us that today, March 20th, is the first day of Spring. The first day of Spring is also known as the Vernal Equinox. It is one of two days a year (The other being Autumnal Equinox) when there are 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of night. Equinox = equal night. Why? Most descriptions are a little overly complicated, so let's try not to get too Mr. Science about it.

Because the earth is tilted 23 degrees on its axis, sometimes the top half of the earth is pointed towards the sun, and on the other side of the revolution, the bottom half is pointed at the sun. Which is why summer here means winter in Australia. The point at which we are fully tilted towards the sun is summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The point at which we are pointed away from the sun is winter solstice, the longest night of the year.

Imagine earth's annual revolution as a clock with the sun in the center, and we are traveling around the numbers. Winter solstice is when earth would be at midnight. Summer solstice is when we would be at 6 o'clock. Vernal equinox would be 3 o'clock and Autumnal Equinox would be at 9pm. So the first day of Spring is the day that we hit the halfway point between solstices, and the sun crosses over the celestial equator to start hanging out with us longer than the southern hemisphere.

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Woohoo for Spring! The season of Easter, Passover, snapdragons, jacarandas, strawberries, asparagus, baseball, April showers and May flowers is now officially upon us!

Photo by Elise Thompson/LAist

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