Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spring's coming...

Early this morning, February 4 at 1013 UTC (5:13 am EST), was an astronomical cross-quarter day - a half-way point between the winter solstice (December 22, 2011 at 0530 UTC) and the vernal (spring) equinox (March 20, 2011 at 0514 UTC).

I've written before about how this astronomical event has been associated with traditional holidays like the Celtic Imbolc, the Germanic groundhog day, and the Christian Candlemas.

For my midlatitude location (41° 52' N, 074° 06' W, rounded to the nearest minute), the Sun rose at 07:21 am (all times are in EST) and set at 4:29 pm giving us only 9 hours of daylight.  Today, the Sun rose at 07:06 am and will set at 5:15 pm, adding another hour of daylight.  By the spring equinox, sunrise and sunset will be at 05:59 am and 6:09 pm for 12 hours of daylight (equinox literally means "equal night" because it's the time when day and night are equal lengths at 12 hours each).

As someone who's mood is always affected by the loss of daylight winter brings, I always start to feel good this time of year and as someone who likes to spend time outside (without being bundled up against the cold), I really look forward to the coming arrival of spring.

Go outside and look around.  As this month advances, you'll start to see some of the signs of reawakening of plants and animals (especially if this unseasonably warm weather continues here in the Hudson Valley).

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