Equinoctial Molehills

Very busy today, what with a return to lecturing in Cardiff and so on, so I’ve just got time for a quick post to mark the fact that the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere took place today, Tuesday 20th March 2018, at 16.15 UTC (which is 16.15 GMT). This means that the Sun has just crossed the celestial equator on its journey Northward. Some people regard this as the first day of spring, which is fair enough as it does correspond fairly well to the end of the Six Nations rugby.

It wasn’t exactly spring weather when I walked into work this morning, as there are still bits of snow around in Bute Park.

More significantly, a huge number of molehills have appeared. Not quite a mole of molehills, but still quite a few. I’m not sure of the reason for all this molar activity. Perhaps moles have special rituals for marking the Vernal Equinox?

Incidentally I was dismayed to see that my Royal Astronomical Society diary gives the time of the 2018 Vernal Equinox as 16.16 GMT while the wikipedia page I linked to above gives 16.15 GMT. I find a discrepancy of this magnitude extremely unnerving. Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

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6 Responses to “Equinoctial Molehills”

  1. Hylke de Jong Says:

    Rising water table is pushing moles to surface, I think is the cause.

  2. Yes, those vernal molehills just spring up. πŸ˜€

  3. The discrepancy is between USNO and RAS, Wikipedia’s just the messenger. πŸ˜‰ aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/EarthSeasons.php (which is referenced in the Wikipedia table) gives the 16.15UTC timing. Their website currently seems to be down, but you can access it through https://web.archive.org/web/20180207154100/http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/EarthSeasons.php as well.

  4. Anton Garrett Says:

    I was dismayed to see that my Royal Astronomical Society diary gives the time of the 2018 Vernal Equinox as 16.16 GMT while the wikipedia page I linked to above gives 16.15 GMT. I find a discrepancy of this magnitude extremely unnerving. Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

    It’s only a minute discrepancy.

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