Spring folklore: Can an egg really balance on its end during the vernal equinox?

By Amanda Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
March 20, 2019, 12:14:23 PM EDT

Yes, you certainly can balance an egg on its end during the March 20 vernal equinox -- but you can also do this on any other day of the year.

This long-standing piece of folklore, in which people believe that during the equinox the gravitational pull placed on an egg allows it to remain upright throughout the day, resurfaces every year. However, the phenomenon is not influenced in any way by invisible forces related to the equinox.

In fact, there's a much simpler explanation: The elements that keep an egg balanced on its end are the result of a combination of concentration and patience, and a very solid surface.

Balancing an egg

The vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of astronomical spring, occurs when the sun is directly above the Earth’s equator during its orbit, allowing for another type of balancing act to briefly take hold.

“When the Earth is halfway between the two sides of the orbital plane, things line up perpendicular, but this doesn't last long, as the Earth never stops its orbit," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel.

In that fleeting moment when the Earth and sun are perpendicular, which can be seen in the satellite image below, the equinox occurs. The vernal equinox occurs around March 20. Another effect, Samuhel added, is that daylight hours and darkness are about exactly equal during the equinox.

Meteorological spring, on the other hand, begins on March 1 and extends through May 31. Meteorologists group months according to temperature averages making meteorological summer from June to August and winter from December to February.

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