Vernal Equinox

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It’s “officially” spring! Unless you are in Winnipeg, where it might seem like fall after the summer-time temperatures they had this past weekend.

This is one of the days when the axis of the Earth is neither tilted neither away from nor towards the sun. The day and night are almost equal in duration (this is a close as it gets).

What most of us here in Canada will notice is that the sun is once again setting in the west! Below is a graphic taken from the astronomy software Stellarium:

Stellarium sky view from Edmonton
Stellarium sky view from Edmonton

The software is showing us what the sky looks like at approximately 19:56 (7:56 PM) on March 20, 2012, looking west from the city of Edmonton, Alberta. The ecliptic is the path that the Sun follows through the sky, relative to the stars, as seen from the vantage point of Earth.

[Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic view of the sky, similar to what you see with the naked eye. It has versions available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.]

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