FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — This year features the earliest spring in more than 100 years.
Spring equinox occurs every March when the sun is right above the equator.
It’s how we mark the beginning of spring and since 1896, the vernal equinox has occurred on March 20 or 21.
This year spring officially begins on Thursday, March 19, at 11:50 P.M. EDT.
It will occur on the 19 for all U.S. time zones this year.
The reason for it happening earlier has to do with how the calendar works.
According to NASA, the true length of a year on Earth is 365.2422 days or 365 days 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
Then, every four years, a leap day is added to make up for any extra time left over from the previous 3 years.
According to history.com, in 45 BC, Julius Caesar rolled out the Julian calendar that included a leap day.
In 1500 Pope Gregory XIII designed the Gregorian calendar because the Julian calendar year was too long by nearly 9 minutes.
It may not seem major but after time, it adds up and it resulted in spring being pushed up to early March.
The Gregorian calendar pushed the vernal equinox back to March 21.
The new calendar had exceptions for the leap year.
It stated that a century year can be a leap year if it is divisible by 400.
With that being said, 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years.
Pope Gregory made these adjustments to make sure the season stayed consistent and only pivoted between three different dates.
In 2021, spring will begin on March 20.
Believe it or not, every leap year until 2103 will be a new “earliest spring” until the system resets itself.
Spring 2020 officially begins on Thursday, March 19, at 11:50 P.M. EDT.
Posted: Mar 13, 2020 9:26 PM
Updated: Mar 14, 2020 11:15 AM
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