Vernal Equinox Dates 2017 Revealed

First Posted: Mar 16, 2017 04:30 AM EDT

Equinox literally means "equal night." In an astronomical point of view, it is the date when the Sun shines right on the equator, due to which the length of the day is almost equal to the length of the night. The day of equinox officially denotes the last day of winter and the onset of spring.

Most often, the vernal equinox falls on March 19, March 20 or March 21. The exact date is determined by various factors like calendar calculations and whether the said year is a leap year or not. The U.S. Naval Observatory and NASA have confirmed that March 20 (6.29 a.m. EDT) is the equinox date for 2017, Brevard Times reported.

The NASA scientists are propagating the forthcoming equinox as the start of an astronomically eventful year. The NASA Earth Observatory has released a picture of Earth that explains that the phenomenon of equinox largely depends on the fact that the Earth's axis of rotation is tilted by 23.5 degrees. The equinox occurs when the tilt in the axis lies perpendicular to the Sun that allows even spreading of sunlight. The equality of lengths of day and night can be most accurately observed in the Northern Hemisphere especially in Melbourne and Florida regions.

According to the Bustle report, this "seasonal celestial happening" is also considered a symbol of rebirth, fertility and regeneration after the darkness of winter. Furthermore, many cultures consider the equinox to the most auspicious time for resurrection of their deity and other holy rituals. It is also the time when animals wake up from their hibernation.

On a more scientific note, NASA has been making significant efforts to promote the science behind this celestial event. In addition, NASA is also trying to raise awareness and interest among the general masses regarding the upcoming and extremely rare solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. The solar eclipse will be visible from coast to coast in all the 50 states of America -- an event that has previously been recorded way back in 1918.

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