A Few Caveats regarding Day Length

I have to admit I have spring fever. I seem to have moved to a part of the country where the seasons actually follow the solstices and equinoxes, and politely divide themselves into 4 fairly equal parts. My crocuses are blooming, shorts are starting to appear on some of the more robust males on campus, the Canadian geese have paired off (which is actually very freaky), and tonight the Sun crosses the equinox at 7 minutes after midnight in Greenwich (that’s GMT-0). The Sun, when it rises over Edwardsville and campus tomorrow, will be hanging out over the Northern Hemisphere.

When I teach about equinoxes and solstices in class, the observant student may notice a slight discrepancies between what is taught and what they find in their newspaper. For instance, I’ll say that on the Equinox, the Sun rises exactly in the East and sets exactly in the West (totally true). I’ll say the Sun passes directly over the Equator at the Equinox (also, totally true). And, I’ll say the day and the night are equal on the Equinox (kinda sorta true). What I don’t do is define sunrise and sunset, and this is where that last “kinda sorta, huh?” moment comes into play.

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