Here in South Africa, we will be celebrating Spring Day tomorrow. The seasons are definitely changing – the black firebreaks are turning green as the grass grows in, the daily temperatures have climbed dramatically compared even to last week, and deciduous trees are sprouting new growth. Soon the rainy season will begin (although if you live in Cape Town then all bets are off) and a new cycle of life and growth begins.
But we are astronomers! We are not moved by such pedestrian earthly matters. We know that spring does not truly begin till the date of the equinox: 23 September. This is the day when the Earth is positioned in its orbit such that the North and South hemispheres receive an equal share of sunlight. We know that the seasons are dictated by the motions of the Earth in the Solar System, and not by the insignificant shufflings of life on our little planet.
But it’s still nice to hear the birds sing, and see the flowers come back!