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WeatherBlog 19/2012 | Unstable weekend at the astronomical beginning of spring

Cheers to the vernal equinox

by Lea Hartl 03/21/2012
As successfully oracled by our colleague Oracle, the seemingly boring disturbance last Sunday and Monday brought a nice refreshment, at least in the north and west. It is now clearly spring again and is developing increasingly summery characteristics until the still uncertain weekend.

As successfully oracled by our colleague Orakel, the seemingly boring disturbance last Sunday and Monday brought a nice refreshment, at least in the north and west. It is now clearly spring again and will develop increasingly summery characteristics until the still uncertain weekend.

Current situation and outlook

Following the departure of the small but potent low pressure system, the entire Alpine region is once again under the influence of high pressure, which is only clouded, if at all, by a few high veil clouds on the main western ridge. These belong to a low over Spain, which doesn't look very impressive on the maps at the moment, but could cause a subjective deterioration in the weather towards the weekend (objectively, of course, there is no such thing). For tomorrow (Thursday, 22.3.), the models see the original low pressure complex splitting into two mini lows, one of which will move northwards and the other will bob around in the western Alps. What exactly this means for the weekend depends on the exact position and track of the low. At the moment, it looks like variable cloudiness and, due to the increasing lability, some showers or even thunderstorms. Friday is likely to be rather cloudy in the west, but still very sunny in the east.

Time change and equinox

When the sun is at the vernal equinox, it is equinox on earth.

Unlike the weather forecast, there is nothing uncertain about the fact that on Sunday at two o'clock in the morning the time will be set forward by one hour. The WeatherBlog recommends adjusting your own clocks to the summer time that will apply from this point onwards, otherwise life will become incredibly complicated. As is well known, the whole thing was introduced at some point because somehow energy is saved when everyone sleeps one hour less.

Relatively unimpressed by the time change, yesterday, March 20, was the day of this year's vernal equinox; this means that today was already longer than tonight and spring is now not only for meteorologists, but also for astronomers. The exact time of the equinoxes (there is also one in the fall) is determined by the position of the sun relative to the earth. Imagine the earth as a sphere within another, larger sphere and project the equator from the earth as a circle onto the larger sphere. Forget that the earth orbits the sun and not the other way around and imagine the sun's orbit as we perceive it on earth.

This orbit can then also be drawn on the larger sphere, as another circle around the earth in the center of the sphere. At the points where this solar circle (also known as the ecliptic) intersects the celestial equator (the first circle), the sun is perpendicular to the equator and day and night are therefore at least theoretically the same length. In practice, this is not quite true, as the earth has a pleasant atmosphere that, among other things, refracts the light of the low sun so that the sun can still be seen even though it has actually already set.

Special tip at the end: You can also tell your loved one about the latter if you want to test the romantic sunset mood for crisis resistance.

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

Show original (German)


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