Students Achieve Balance on Vernal Equinox

Each year, on the vernal equinox (first day of spring), Mrs. Brown has a family ritual: they stand a broom up, and it balances, sitting there, all by itself. How does this happen?

Twice each year, we have an equinox, that is, “equal night,” so to speak. On the first day of spring and the first day of fall, the earth’s axis is perpendicular to the sun, so day and night are of equal length. There is a theory that, due to the sun’s equidistant position between the poles of the earth at the time of the equinox, special gravitational forces apply.

The spring equinox gets all the press, with people balancing eggs all around the world. But, a broom also works. Other people say the whole thing is hype, folklore, old wives’ tales. You can google, “balance vernal equinox” to find 170,000 articles and references.

In B122, students conducted their own experiment. Spring officially started at 5:21 pm on Sunday, March 20. The effects are still in place, as seen in their pictures, taken Monday morning, March 21. See for yourself. You can also see for yourself by trying to balance a broom on any other day of the year.

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