“Don’t say that spring has come until you can put your foot on nine daisies.” This old verse, if believed, may indicate that spring will be happening about the same time as summer in much of the US this year. The unusually harsh winter has left many states with snow still piled several feet high and temperatures too consistently cold to start a spring thaw. Robins and other migratory birds seem to be shivering in the trees as they look for the usually available seeds and nuts left from fall.
Despite the weather there is a pattern to when spring begins. In 2014, spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 20 at 12:57 P.M. EDT. The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” Days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west.
At the equinoxes, the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (However, the tilt of Earth relative to its plane of orbit, called the ecliptic plane, is always about 23.5 degrees.)
The vernal equinox days and nights don’t always have the exact same amount of day and night as the word “equinox” implies. Former astronomer, George Greenstein, explained, "There are two reasons. First, light rays from the Sun are bent by the Earth's atmosphere. (This is why the Sun appears squashed when it sets.) They are bent in such a way that we are actually able to see the Sun before it rises and after it sets. The second reason is that daytime begins the moment any part of the Sun is over the horizon, and it is not over until the last part of the Sun has set. If the Sun were to shrink to a starlike point and we lived in a world without air, the spring and fall equinoxes would truly have ‘equal nights.’”
Additionally, Daylight Savings Time begins early in March in the US, making all eger for warm weather to accompany increased daylight in sync with clock time. Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time. In 2014, the beginning date is March 9, and the ending date is November 2.
The idea of daylight saving time was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 during his stay in Paris. He published an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” that proposed to economize the use of candles by rising earlier to make use of the morning sunlight.
The invention of DST was mainly credited to William Willett in 1905 when he came up with the idea of moving the clocks forward in the summer to take advantage of the daylight in the mornings and the lighter evenings. His proposal suggested moving the clocks 20 minutes forward each of four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on four Sundays in September.
DST was first adopted to replace artificial lighting so they could save fuel for the war effort in Germany during World War I. The US Congress extended DST to a period of ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. The trial period showed that DST saved the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day, but DST still proved to be controversial. Many complained that the dark winter mornings endangered the lives of children going to school. After the energy crisis was over in 1976, the US changed their DST schedule again to begin on the last Sunday in April. DST was amended again to begin on the first Sunday in April in 1987. Further changes were made after the introduction of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
The DST schedule in the US was revised several times throughout the years, in which the DST schedule period lasted for about seven months from 1987 to 2006. The current schedule began in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month where DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Currently, most of the US observes DST except for Hawaii and most of Arizona, and the US insular areas of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.
Follow all the news about Green Living, American Made, Pets, Education, and Child Health by subscribing to my articles. Click on the "Subscribe" button, or here: http://www.examiner.com/user-bmader. Visit my blog for a chuckle at: http://barb-says.blogspot.com.