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Vernal Equinox


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Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    The Vernal Equinox (northern hemisphere) is at 5.48am on the 20th of March.

    The sun will cross the celestial equator and will be in the northern hemisphere of the sky.

    positions.gif

    The full moon is on the 21st of March and the date of Easter is determined by the date of the first full moon after the equinox.

    Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal (autumnal) equinox.

    This helps to explain why it is so early this year as the full moon immediately follows the equinox. If the full moon was the day before the equinox then Easter would have been very late as it will be in 2011

    Equinox: 20th March

    Full moon: 21st March

    Easter Day: 23rd March

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    Posted
  • Location: Up North like
  • Location: Up North like

    Thanks for that Mr Data, I always wondered how they worked it out, I thought they just stuck a pin on the calendar :huh:

    Ah and a full moon on my birthday, better warn the locals B)

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    Posted
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

    yes Katie its always seemed a voodoo science to me!

    enjoy your broomride

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    Posted
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and heatwave
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft
    The Vernal Equinox (northern hemisphere) is at 5.48am on the 20th of March.

    The sun will cross the celestial equator and will be in the northern hemisphere of the sky.

    positions.gif

    The full moon is on the 21st of March and the date of Easter is determined by the date of the first full moon after the equinox.

    Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal (autumnal) equinox.

    This helps to explain why it is so early this year as the full moon immediately follows the equinox. If the full moon was the day before the equinox then Easter would have been very late as it will be in 2011

    Equinox: 20th March

    Full moon: 21st March

    Easter Day: 23rd March

    I still dont understand why Easter this early is still a one in a 75/100 type event rather then one in 30/40 type event ?

    I assume its because the Equinox cant 'move' ??

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    Posted
  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam
    I assume its because the Equinox cant 'move' ??

    It does move but over a very short range. 2007 was the last occasion this century that the equinox fell on the 21st March. The next occasion won't be until 2102.

    On the 2044, it will fall on the 19th of March for the first time since 1796.

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    Posted
  • Location: Amesbury, Wiltshire, England, 96m asl
  • Location: Amesbury, Wiltshire, England, 96m asl

    Thanks for that Mr Data, I've never really given much thought on the subject but had no idea it was to do with the moon and the equinox, very interesting. :mellow:

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    Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts

    I knew that it was to do with the moon and equinox, but never knew precisely what. Thanks Mr D.

    Question I still need an answer to is why Easter is always at this time of year and where the whole moon/equinox idea came from?

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    Posted
  • Location: Solihull, West Midlands. UK
  • Location: Solihull, West Midlands. UK

    Hi Roo.

    Try reading upon it here... Easter, The full Moon and the Vernal Equinox

    It's a bit long-winded but it gives you a basic idea as to why Easter, unlike say, Christmas does not fall on the same date every year.

    To summarise though for those who don't have time to read that epic...

    "Easter is termed a moveable feast because it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. Easter falls at some point between late March and late April each year (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity), following the cycle of the moon. After several centuries of disagreement, all churches accepted the computation of the Alexandrian Church (now the Coptic Church) that Easter is the first Sunday after the first fourteenth day of the moon (the Paschal Full Moon) that is on or after March 21 (the ecclesiastical spring, or vernal, equinox)."

    Phil.

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    Posted
  • Location: Stewartstown (51m asl) , N.Ireland. (In Dazzling Dazza Land)
  • Location: Stewartstown (51m asl) , N.Ireland. (In Dazzling Dazza Land)

    Thanks for breaking that down for us Mr D.

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    Posted
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
    I still dont understand why Easter this early is still a one in a 75/100 type event rather then one in 30/40 type event ?

    I assume its because the Equinox cant 'move' ??

    It's because we add a day in February every 4 years for leap years that the equinox moves in relation to the calendar. This year, the equinox is early in March, on the 20th. Last September IIRC it was on the 22nd.

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    Posted
  • Location: Solihull, West Midlands. UK
  • Location: Solihull, West Midlands. UK
    Last September IIRC it was on the 22nd.

    Close, Chris. It occured on the morning of 23rd September at 10:52am BST (09:52am GMT)

    But Equinox and Solstice dates for 2008 are listed here for you below. (All times in UT/GMT.)

    Vernal Equinox occurs on 20th March 2008 at 05:58am

    Summer Solstice occurs on 21st June 2008 at 00:00am (01:00am BST)

    Autumnal Equinox occurs on 22nd September 2008 at 15:40 (16:40 BST)

    Winter Solstice occurs on 21st December 2008 at 12:02pm

    Phil.

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    Posted
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Weather Preferences: Ample sunshine; Hot weather; Mixed winters with cold and mild spells
  • Location: Berlin, Germany

    Good news indeed - the days become longer than the nights. Glorious daylight returns! The weekend after the clocks move too and the return of proper light evenings is back with us at long last.

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    Posted
  • Location: ilminster Somerset
  • Location: ilminster Somerset

    was asked at work the same question,and could,nt answer,so nicely explained MD

    What i cant fathom is this,how come today at my location there was exactly 12 hours between sunrise and sunset. i always assummed that this marked the equinox,or maybe its just peculiar to your lat/lon

    ahh got it!!! on thurday it will rise and set north of the east/west line

    Observer's Location: Ilminster ( 50.9260°N, 2.9040°W)

    Local Time: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 0:00)

    Apparent geocentric position

    Right ascension 23h 51m 19s

    Declination -0° 56' 24"

    Range 0.9952804 AU

    Constellation Pisces

    2008

    Spring equinox 05:48, 20 March

    Summer solstice 00:59, 21 June

    Autumn equinox 16:44, 22 September

    Winter solstice 12:03, 21 December

    Event Time Altitude Azimuth

    Astronomical twilight starts: 04:29 -18.0° 69°

    Nautical twilight starts: 05:09 -12.0° 77°

    Civil twilight starts: 05:47 -6.0° 84°

    Sunrise: 06:20 -0.8° 91°

    Sunset: 18:20 -0.8° 269°

    Civil twilight ends: 18:53 -6.0° 276°

    Nautical twilight ends: 19:31 -12.0° 283°

    Astronomical twilight ends: 20:11 -18.0° 292°

    Maximum altitude: 12:20 38.0° 180°

    Minimum altitude: 00:20 -40.3° 360°

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    Posted
  • Location: Western Isle of Wight
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, Storm, anything loud and dramatic.
  • Location: Western Isle of Wight

    Very interesting Mr Data thank you :) Here is a quote you may find interesting Re St Patrick day and Easter:-

    Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. St Patrick's Day usually falls on March 17 but for 2008 the Vatican has decreed that St Patrick's Feast Day will be celebrated on 15th March as the 17th is the Monday before Easter. Church rules state that saint's feast days cannot be celebrated during Holy Week.
    Courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/ch...patrick_1.shtml There is this too http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7300466.stm

    Thought I would add the above as I am interested in different religion's interaction with astronomical events. Also to show an example of how complex the whole thing is IMO :doh:

    Regards,

    Russ

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    Posted
  • Location: Western Isle of Wight
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, Storm, anything loud and dramatic.
  • Location: Western Isle of Wight
    indeed complex rusty,i,ve just had an online senior moment on this one,i,ll put it down to this virulent cold i have at the moment

    :) Orange juice every morning and that will stop those colds Blackdown, I swear by it :) Get well soon.

    For interest, just a quick quote on where on earth Easter got its name...Possibly :doh: :-

    Ostara

    by Micha F. Lindemans

    In ancient Anglo-Saxon myth, Ostara is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children and to amuse then she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts. From her name and rites the festival of Easter is derived. Ostara is identical to the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora.

    Courtesy of:- http://www.pantheon.org/
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    Posted
  • Location: Coylton - Ayrshire
  • Location: Coylton - Ayrshire

    A couple of things that are to do with times and equinoxes and things.

    Is there a website or someone in the government that tells us when to change the clocks? I assume someone has to make the decision every year.

    Also, the leap year, is it there because an actual day is 4 minutes short of a full 24 hours? If so then when is the year with the latest sunset on the longest day? Is it the actual leap year or the year before the leap year?

    Do those questions make sense?

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    Posted
  • Location: Solihull, West Midlands. UK
  • Location: Solihull, West Midlands. UK
    Is there a website or someone in the government that tells us when to change the clocks? I assume someone has to make the decision every year.

    No-one actually 'decides' as such, unless the government gets its own way and decides to add an extra hour to BST so it would be GMT+2 rather than the GMT+1 system that we currently use.

    But that has been a long and ongoing argument and I think will continue to be so for a long time to come.

    But usually the last Sunday in March is when we switch to BST and then the last Sunday in October is when we revert back to GMT. (Or UT/Universal Time as otherwise known.)

    Also, the leap year, is it there because an actual day is 4 minutes short of a full 24 hours? If so then when is the year with the latest sunset on the longest day? Is it the actual leap year or the year before the leap year?

    Each year lasts approximately 365.25 days. Now the .25 = 6 hours. Multiply that 6 by 4 and you get 24.

    24 hours = 1 calendar day hence why the extra day every 4 years added to the end of February

    Do those questions make sense?

    Plenty of sense. Hope this explanation has resolved the issue for you. :)

    Phil.

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