Vernal Equinox Ushers in the Start of Spring

Spring is here today -- although it doesn't feel like it some parts of the United States.

The vernal equinox will officially begin at 6:45 p.m. ET when the sun's most direct rays hit the equator, marking the start of spring.

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For much of the East Coast, the start of the new season is being marked with snow, while other parts of the country are enjoying more spring-like temperatures.

There are two equinoxes per year -- the vernal and the autumnal -- and it is only at these times that the Earth's 23.5-degree axis is not tilting toward or away from the sun.

The word equinox means "equal night" in Latin and marks the point where areas along the equator have equal days and nights.

This means all of us in the Northern Hemisphere who are welcoming spring can enjoy more daylight with the shift of the seasons while are neighbors in the southern hemisphere begin welcoming the start of autumn.