The Vernal Equinox & the Egg-Balancing Myth

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The Vernal Equinox & the Egg-Balancing Myth

The Vernal Equinox

The Vernal Equinox (also called the Spring Equinox) marks the beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumn season in the Southern Hemisphere. This upcoming equinox will occur on March 20 at 10:33 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The word “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night. An equinox is a point in time when the sun passes through the celestial equator, and day and night are of approximate equal lengths. It occurs twice a year around March 20 and September 23.

What seasonal effects take place?

The March equinox brings us earlier sunrises, later sunsets, and thriving flora and fauna. You may notice birds and butterflies begin their long journey back to the north. Meanwhile, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere start experiencing the opposite effect of shorter days, cooler weather, and falling leaves. Regardless of where you are located on our planet, the equinox commences a number of seasonal changes.

The egg-balancing myth

Legend has it that the only time you can successfully balance an egg upright is on the Vernal Equinox due to the Earth’s position relative to the sun. This myth is due to the idea that since the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth, the gravitational pull is equalized. Therefore, the egg can stand on its end without falling over.

To debunk this myth, we’ve gathered a group of MOSH employees to try balancing an egg upright on one end on March 18–two days before the Vernal Equinox. Here’s what we discovered: it’s possible to balance an egg (raw) upright on a day other than the equinox. Myth debunked! Check out our perfectly balanced eggs at the Museum of Science & History. To view more pictures of our science experiment, follow us on social media.