This Monday, March 20, spring begins in the northern hemisphere, at 10:24 p.m. in the Spanish peninsula, according to the National Astronomical Observatory. At that time, in the southern hemisphere, autumn will be beginning.
And the spring equinox brings with it the time change, which this year in Spain is scheduled for this Sunday, the 26th. That day, «at 2 it will be 3», a phrase that is already widespread in the collective imagination and that means that at 2 in the morning it will be 3 in the morning, that is, that the clocks will advance one hour. It will be the time when daylight saving time will begin.
It is important to remember that the time change does not apply to all countries in the world and that some places may have different dates and times for the time change.
Spring usually brings rainy in april but clear skies caused by the anticyclones. And that is why it is an ideal time to observe the astronomical events. Here is a list of the most prominent:
Venus and Uranus conjunction
Shortly after the beginning of spring, on the last day of March -the 31st-, the conjunction between Venus and Uranus will occur. Uranus, the planet that smells like rotten eggs, is an outer planet and not easy to see with the naked eye, but its close proximity to Venus makes it a bit more visible. The conjunction of Venus and Uranus occurs when these two planets appear very close in the night sky from Earth’s perspective, so close that the conjunction between two planets is also known as a kiss. Because Venus and Uranus have different orbits and different speeds, these conjunctions don’t happen very often. In fact, the last conjunction of Venus and Uranus took place on March 3, 2021. During this event, Venus and Uranus appeared just 0.4 degrees apart in the night sky, which helped those observed of the sky to see both planets together in the same field of view. And the next conjunction of Venus and Uranus will occur on February 6, 2024, although it will not be as close as the conjunction of 2021.
This Holy Week we get the first full moon of spring, also known as the pink moon. On this occasion, the satellite will be perceived larger and brighter, although with the same whitish color as always. The Native Americans were the ones who gave this name to the fourth full moon of the year. The reason is not precisely its color, but that this lunar phase coincides with the Flowering Mossy Phlox, a kind of plant that is pink. The Pink Moon is also known as ‘easter moon‘. In this case, the reason is that the dates of lent and Holy Week are decided according to the Moon’s calendar. Thus, the day of the first full moon of spring, which on this occasion falls on April 6 -Holy Thursday-, indicates that the following Sunday is celebrated the Easter. And this April 6 would start at 6.35 peninsular time.
The next full moon in spring, of the three in total, will be on May 5 and begins at 7:34 p.m. peninsular time. This is known as the full flower moon or blooming moon, since May is the month of flowers. Spring leaves us yet another full moon, which will be on June 4 at 5:42 p.m. peninsular time. It will be the day before the second Easter or Granada Easter, which this year falls on the 5th.
The spring of this year leaves two eclipses. The first will be a special event, because it is a mixed or hybrid eclipse, something that happens very few times every century. In this case, it starts as an annular eclipse, becomes total, and annular again shortly before ending. The pity is that it will not be visible from Spain and will only be visible in Southeast Asia, the Philippine Islands and Oceania. The partial eclipse will begin at 2:34 p.m. in the Indian Ocean and end at 7:59 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean. The total duration of the phenomenon will be 325 minutes (just under 5 and a half hours). The mixed eclipse will begin at 3 hours and 37 minutes at a point in the Indian Ocean east of the Kerguelen Islands in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. It will traverse the Indian Ocean from southwest to northeast, making landfall in Western Australia, East Timor and Indonesia. It will end at 6 hours and 57 minutes in the Pacific Ocean. The maximum of the mixed eclipse will occur at 5 hours and 17 minutes southeast of East Timor. The maximum magnitude will be 1.01 and its maximum duration 1 minute 16 seconds.
The second eclipse will be a penumbral lunar eclipse, which will occur on May 5 and will be visible in Africa, Asia, and Oceania. A penumbral eclipse occurs when the moon passes through Earth’s penumbra. The penumbra causes a subtle darkening on the lunar surface, so they are not too easy to see with the naked eye.
The National Geographic Institute defines a meteor as the «phenomenon resulting from the penetration of a particle of matter (meteoroid) into the atmosphere at high speed.» In certain parts of the year there is a rate of appearance of meteors greater than usual, which is commonly known as a meteor shower. And in spring there will be two important ones, which will have their zenith on the night of April 22 to 23 (Sant Jordi) and that of May 6 to 7. The Day of the Book will have its peak the rain of lyrids, one of the most beautiful spectacles that can be seen in the skies in the month of April. It usually occurs every year between April 16 and 25, coinciding with the spring of the northern hemisphere of the Earth. During these dates, our planet approaches the debris zone of G1 Thatcher, a comet discovered in 1861 that leaves behind a trail of fragments that, when it comes into contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, ignites and gives the beautiful visual effect of shooting stars.
The peak of the Eta Aquarids will be on May 7. The Eta Aquarids are a meteor shower that this year will be between April 19 and May 28. The Aquarids, which receive their name from the star Eta Aquarii in the constellation of Aquarius, are produced due to the passage of the Earth through an area of debris from Halley’s comet, whose next orbit around the Sun will be in 2061. They have a rate of activity that is between 40 and 85 meteors per hour in the northern hemisphere (in which Spain is located) and 100-120 in the southern hemisphere.