Knowing when spring is has never been more important for Royal family fans following the news from Kensington Palace that the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle is pregnant with her first child, with the baby due in Spring 2019.
On Monday, October 15, 2018, Kensington Palace said in a statement: ‘Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.’
And with the UK weather getting colder as winter approaches, it won’t be just Royal fans who are eagerly awaiting the warmer months.
Here is all you need to know about spring 2019, including when is it, why are there two dates and how they are decided.
The first day of spring can fall on one of two dates depending on which calendar is used
When is spring 2019?
Spring 2019 can start on either one of two dates, depending how you look at it. The first date is March 1, 2019 and the second is March 20.
The first date is set according to the meteorological calendar, while the second date goes by the astronomical calendar.
The dates are different because the meteorological and astronomical springs are calculated in different ways.
The meteorological calendar splits the seasons into four clear periods, with each one lasting for three months on the Gregorian calendar. It came about in order to ensure seasonal statistics could be compared clearly year-on-year.
So, according to the meteorological calendar, spring 2019 will start on March 1 and last until May 31, with summer starting on June 1.
However, according to the astronomical calendar, spring will arrive on March 20 in 2019 and last until June 21, a full three weeks later than the meteorological spring.
The date differs because the astronomical calendar uses seasonal data in relation to the 23.5 degree axis of the Earth and the sun’s position of the equator.
The seasons are set by the solstices and equinoxes. Equinoxes are when the day and night are equal in length, meaning that the whole planet will get 12 hours of lightness and darkness on an equinox.
The term equinox comes from the Latin ‘equi’, which means equal, and ‘nox’, which means night.
Spring is set according to the date of the spring equinox, which falls on March 20, 2019, with the season ending on the day of the summer solstice, June 21.
The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, where the Northern Hemisphere gets the most amount of sunlight in the year.
Because equinoxes and solstices are related to the Earth’s tilted axis and orbit around the sun, they are not fixed.
Therefore, the spring equinox can fall at any point around March 20 and March 21, thus explaining why the first day of spring 2019 will not be the same as the first day of Spring in 2007 (March 21).
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