Can you really balance an egg on its end during the vernal equinox?

By Heather Janssen, AccuWeather staff writer

The vernal equinox will occur on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, marking the start of spring for the Northern Hemisphere.

A long-standing myth of the equinox is that it's possible for an egg to stand on its end. The myth was popularized in the United States following a LIFE article in 1945, which explained the old spring adage.

"The origins of this myth are attributed to stories that the ancient Chinese would create displays of eggs standing on end during the first day of spring," John Millis, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Anderson University stated in an article.


(Flickr Photo/John Morgan)

However, this myth is only partly true. It is possible to balance an egg on its end, but it has nothing do to with the vernal equinox. In fact, it can be performed on any day of the year.

To stand the egg on its end, try using a rough surface or an egg that has a bumpy end for better balance.

Millie added, "the ancient Chinese celebrated the first day of spring about six weeks earlier than the equinox, meaning that the recreation of this event was not even on the correct day."

The equinox is when the poles point neither toward or away from the sun.

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Though standing an egg on its end can be easily disproved, there are many interesting facts about the vernal equinox:

It is true that on the equinox, the sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. This is true no matter the location on Earth, Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman said.

A second known fact is that the first day of spring has roughly has the same length of day and night around the world, with typically five to seven more minutes of daylight, according to Berman.

"The time of equal day and night actually happens about four or five days earlier than the equinox," Berman said.

Lastly, during vernal equinox, the sun's movement across the sky occurs in a straight line as opposed to a curved shape.

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