Spring (Part 2): the Astronomical

curious lambs looking at the camera in spring

If you haven’t read our blog ‘Spring (Part 1)‘ you’re probably thinking “I thought there was only one part to spring and it lasts about 3 months?” Well, to clear up any confusion, in part 1 we were looking at the different definitions of spring, when they start and how long they go on for.

In the northern hemisphere the first to occur – Meteorological Spring – began on the 1st March (although, you wouldn’t know it going by the generally damp, grey weather we’ve had since). Meteorological spring was invented by weather boffins so they could more easily compare weather patterns from one year to the next. It was a master stroke and has lead to many classic “since records began” headlines.

The second spring – and our main subject today – is the Astronomical variety and occurs between 20th and 21st March. It occurs due to the Earth’s orbit round the sun, and – whilst we don’t pretend to have even 1/100th of the Astro-physicist intellect of Stephen Hawking – here’s a little explanation…

The Earth orbits the sun in an elliptical pattern, which takes roughly a year (265.256 days to be exact – which is why every 4 years there’s a leap year to make up the missing 4x 0.256 days). During its annual orbital revolution round the sun our planet is also spinning – quite literally on a daily basis – as it takes 24hrs to revolve, giving us our days and nights.

Still with us? Good. Now, the axis for that spin is at an angle, which means that light from the sun hits us at different amounts as the planet tracks its way annually round the ellipse. The result is that the farther north or south you go the greater the change in the amount of light and shadow throughout the year. It is that difference that gives us our seasons.

Spring part 2

The 20th March – spring Equinox – is the point in the year when during a daily revolution the amount of time the planet is facing the sun is equal to the amount of time it is away from the sun. The days have been getting longer since 21st December – but from here on there will be more daylight hours than dark – until the Autumn equinox in September. Conversely, our Australian cousins are enjoying the onset of Autumn as the nights in the southern hemisphere begin to draw in.

If all this talk of spring, longer evenings and (fingers crossed) drier, warmer weather divert your attention to barbecuing and eating al fresco – you might be thinking about getting your garden or outdoor space sorted for summer. Perhaps a good sweep up or even a power wash to get rid of all that green winter algae.

Of course, if you’ve been canny over the winter you’ll have stored it all safely in the dry, away from the elements. For many Londoners that means a self storage unit – and if it’s with us we’ll look forward to seeing you soon – as you get set for summer.


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