March 20 Equinox Marks the Start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere
Dance of the Solar System is the First Solar Event of 2017
Stay Tuned for the Big Event of 2017, the August Solar Eclipse!
It may not feel like it this week in parts of the country, but spring begins in just a few days. March 20 kicks off the first day of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere. On March 20, the day of the spring Equinox, the sun will pass directly over the Earth’s equator, giving the entire planet equal hours of day and night. This is the seasonal marker in Earth’s orbit around the sun when daylight hours begin to get longer than night.
This dance of the solar system is just one celestial event we’ll see this year. On August 21 all 50 states in the U.S. will be in prime position to see a partial or even a total solar eclipse, which happens when the moon is in perfect position to blot out the sun’s bright disk. The last time the U.S. saw a coast-to-coast solar eclipse was in 1918! The path of totality runs from Oregon to South Carolina.
NASA will lead an unprecedented science initiative during the eclipse that will draw on the collaboration of the public to help collect images, data and even temperature readings from across the nation during the hour-and-a-half it takes to cross the continent.