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First day of spring: 5 things to know about the spring equinox

The first day of spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, although a part of the country is preparing for another winter storm.

(REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

It is the time that warm weather fans have been waiting for: the first day of spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, although some states may not believe it.

A winter storm system is expected to climb into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts Tuesday night and Wednesday, and brings a lot of snow.

“Expect mixed precipitation for the Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday, switch to the snow on Wednesday from the Middle of the Atlantic ocean to New England, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned Tuesday.

The powerful storm could dump up to 18 inches of snow in some places, the marking of the fourth nor’easter to smack the region in three weeks.

The Winter weather can still be to remain silent, but that hasn’t stopped people across the country celebrating what is known as the vernal equinox.

Here are 5 things you need to know about the annual March event.

What is the spring equinox, and why do we do it?

Equinoxes occur twice a year, in March and September, on the occasion of the beginning of the spring and the autumn. During an equinox, which in Latin is translated as “equal night,” day and night are equal.

“Today is the length of the day and night are nearly equal, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said early Tuesday. “The days are now longer at the higher latitudes, because it takes the sun longer to rise and set.”

Happy Spring #Equinox and happy #firstdayofspring! Today the length of day and night are almost equal. The days are now longer at the higher latitudes, because it takes the sun longer to rise and set. More satellite images: https://t.co/mbgRYot60A pic.twitter.com/kGlGhM5V58

— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) 20 March 2018

On this day, the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the air above the Earth’s equator – from south to north,” the National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi explains in a tweet.

When is the beginning of spring officially occur?

The sun is directly above at about 12:15 p.m. and on Tuesday, depending on Time and Date.

Is the spring equinox fall on the same day each year?

No. The first day of spring can come anywhere from 19 March to 21 March, depending on the year.

“As a result of the time zone differences, the equinox can occur a day earlier on locations that are behind UTC, the” Time and Date added.

Why? Our calendar year does not always have an even number of days. Every four years an extra day known as leap day, is added in the month of February.

“The March equinox would occur on the same day each year if the Earth took exactly 365 days to make one full revolution around the Sun. But this is not the case,” Time and Date is explained. “It takes the Earth about 365.25 days on average around the Sun once.”

Why do people try to balance eggs on this day?

An old myth claims an egg can balance on the end only during the vernal equinox. And every year, people come together to try the challenge.

“The myth was popular in the United States after a LIFE article in 1945,” says the old spring saying,” AccuWeather reports.

But that myth has proven to be false.

“The spring equinox brings no special egg-balancing properties with it” fact-checking website Snopes.com confirmed in a post online. “Stand an egg on its end is something everyone can do, every day of the year; the feat simply takes the right egg and a little trial and practice.”

Why do people flock to Chichén Itzá on this day?

During the equinox, people often turn to Chichén Itzá, an ancient complex built by the mayas situated in the centre of Mexico, to watch the sunset. They hope to witness a very special shadow that is cast on the structure.

“Incredibly, twice a year on the spring and autumn equinoxes, a shadow falls on the pyramid in the shape of a snake,” National Geographic states. “As the sun sets, this shadowy snake descends the steps to eventually join a stone serpent head at the base of the grand staircase of the pyramid’s side.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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