Equinox, Sun, and Balancing Eggs

The Sun. Image credit: SDO/NASA

Do you celebrate the March equinox? In ancient cultures it was more common for people to acknowledge and celebrate the equinox, because understanding what was happening with the planets, the sun, and the moon was important for agriculture. March was (and is) the beginning of the planting season, at least in the northern hemisphere. Many people still celebrate the equinox. You'll enjoy reading Dr. Sten Odenwald's article, Ancient Astronomical Alignments for more details and read Everything you need to know: Vernal or spring equinox 2012 at EarthSky.

Many people think that you can balance eggs on the equinox. Suzy Gurton, Education Manager at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific says, "If you can do it on the equinox, you can do it any day of the year. Personally, I can't make it happen unless the egg is hard boiled and I smash it to the counter. The broken egg bottom will keep the egg standing." So, the idea that an egg can be balanced is a myth, but a fun one! 

A couple of good resources you'll enjoy are the Shadows of the Sun at the Year of the Solar System site. If you're an educator, you may like the Traditions of the Sun book, which meets California state educational standards for 4th-6th graders. 

Find out more at the NASA Sun-Earth Day and mark your calendar for these events:

  • 3/25 Jupiter and moon are 2º apart
  • 4/3 Venus moves through Pleiades
  • 5/20 Jupiter and Mercury are 2º apart
  • 5/20 Annular solar eclipse in Western US
  • 7/14 Jupiter and moon are 0.03º apart in Eastern US

June 5-6, 2012 (depends on location) is the Transit of Venus, when Venus will cross the Sun. You'll definitely want to celebrate this amazing event with some safe solar viewing with a Night Sky Network astronomy club! Here's an article on the Transit of Venus

Watch What's Up for March 2012? Amazing Planetary Views for sky charts and Jane Houston Jones' explanation of the stargazing targets that are on the StarGazing Shortlist

Read the March 2012 Guide to the Five Visible Planets by EarthSky for more details and sky charts. EarthSky is our stargazing partner and we feature their easy-to-read charts on our planner, Facebook, and Twitter. 

You may also enjoy 
Tonight’s Sky: Highlights of the March Sky by the HubbleSite. 

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory is the hot spot for Sun news!

Join our vibrant stargazing community!
We invite you to join the NASA Night Sky Network stargazing community on Facebook and Twitter for daily sky charts and lively conversation about all things planetary. 

Find star parties and solar viewings quickly with these apps!

Get Go StarGaze, the NASA Night Sky Network astronomy app that helps you find astronomy clubs and their stargazing events on the go!

You can also find astronomy events and clubs in Distant Suns, your personal guide to the cosmos!

Clear skies and happy stargazing!

The NASA Night Sky Network is managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in cooperation with NASA.