Sunday, December 19, 2010

Of Equinoxes, Solstices, and Seasons

My none to pleasurable journey through Utah in snow storms over the weekends that book end Thanksgiving got me thinking about the seasons.  That, and a few random Facebook comments from friends about my mis-adventures.

There are four dates on our calendar that represent the change in seasons.  These days have names.  For the first day of spring, it is called the Vernal Equinox and is supposed to represent the day when there is an equal amount of daylight and night, at least at the equator.  For those of us with a Northern Hemisphere bias, this day is March 21st.  For fall, it is called the Autumnal Equinox, and occurs on September 21st.  The other two days are solstices, which represent the minimum (winter) and maximum (summer) day of sunlight.  For summer, this is June 21st, and for Winter, this is December 21st.

So, my question to myself was, why are these days the actual start of the season?  Wouldn't it make sense if these days were the midpoint of the season?  Wouldn't it make more sense for the Summer Solstice, being the longest day of the year, be the midpoint of summer?  It does to me.  This seems to make a lot of sense in winter as well.  The weather conditions in Utah can only be described as wintery.  In fact, they had Winter Storm Warnings!  Wouldn't it make more sense for winter to begin 1 1/2 months before December 21st?

Just think, we'd be halfway through winter right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment