Weather Wednesday: Spring Equinox Myths

In this Weather Wednesday we show how you can balance a broom or an egg ANY day of the year!

WDAY Weather

FARGO — We are nearly a week ahead of the Spring Equinox so let's sweep away some superstitions and myths about March 20th beforehand.

You can balance a broom any day of the year. There is nothing special about the equinox that changes gravity, you don’t have to be a meteorologist either, it's all about finding the broom’s center of gravity and balancing it from there. The wider the bottom bristles are the easier it will be to balance, just like it’s easier to stand on two legs than trying to balance on one.

The same goes for balancing an egg, with a bit of practice and patience you can get it to stand on its end any day of the year… and it doesn’t have to be hard boiled.

And don’t expect a perfect balance of day and night on the Equinox despite it’s Latin definition meaning “equal night”. We actually have 12 hours and 9 minutes of daytime by the Vernal Equinox. This is partly due to atmospheric refraction, as the sun’s light bends as it passes through our atmosphere, and partly because the sun isn’t just a point but a full circle and we get a few extra minutes as we count the daylight when the top of that solar circle rises above the horizon until the last edge of the circle disappear below the horizon.St. Patrick’s Day is the closest we get to balancing day and night with 11 hours and 59 minutes of daylight.

The best balance there is on the Spring Equinox itself is the tilt of the Earth since that is the moment when the sun’s most direct rays cross the Earth’s equator. Neither hemisphere is tilted more toward or away from the sun, the only thing that is specifically in balance on the equinox.


The equinox does provide a cool sight in some cities like Chicago, when the earth's tilt allows the the sun lines up with the east - west streets and creates what is dubbed “Chicago-henge” a modern, metropolis version of the sights you’d see at Stonehenge during the solstices.

Jesse Ritka is a StormTracker meteorologist and holds the AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal of approval.

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