Today’s Spring equinox — one of two annual days when night and are equal — marks the earliest on the calendar the equinox has occurred in 124 years.
The last time the Spring equinox landed on March 19 (instead of March 20 or 21) in the United States came in 1896, a year that also featured the first five-on-five college basketball game* — something we’re missing right now — and the first modern summer Olympics (which we’re still uncertain about this year).
Also, just a few months later — on July 9, 1896 — the very first issue of Word&Way rolled off the printer.
Leap day last month helped push the equinox up to the 19th this year, but other factors with the calendar and rotation of the Earth kept that from occurring during other recent leap years. However, the next few leap years will again bring the equinox on the 19th while the other years will see it on the 20th.
The exact moment of the equinox today will occur — in central time — at 10:49 p.m.
* Chicago beat Iowa, 15-12, in case you’re wondering