Talk:March equinox

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Astronomy (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon March equinox is within the scope of WikiProject Astronomy, which collaborates on articles related to Astronomy on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Holidays  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Holidays, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Holidays on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

Merge suggestion[edit]

nto Spring equinox. Most of information seems to be repetitive. Mahanchian 11:27, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, and actually all equinox articles (spring, March, autumn, September, First Point of Aries) should be merged into one only (Equinox). That also would eliminate the hemisphere bias arising with only the proposed merge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Woodstone (talkcontribs) 06:35, 21 March 2006‎ (UTC)
Yes, but only if all the equinox articles are merged. The March equinox and September equinox articles are relatively new and were added to deal with the hemisphere bias of the Vernal equinox and Autumn equinox articles. It makes no sense to merge the March equinox and Vernal equinox articles alone. The two are quite different in the southern hemisphere. I never liked the idea of there being separate articles for spring and autumn equinoxes. The same considerations apply to the solstice articles Summer solstice, Winter solstice, June solstice and December solstice. Karl 09:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
March equinox and September equinox reflect the Gregorian calendar; other calendars in use have different names. Arguably better terms for all these events reflect what is actually occuring: Northern equinox, Northern solstice, Southern equinox and Southern solstice. But best would be just Equinox and Solstice and a bunch of redirects. mdf 04:06, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes we could use Northward equinox, Northern solstice, Southward equinox and Southern solstice, but the meaning would be less obvious to a casual reader. Karl 09:05, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Anything less than obvious can be explained in the article – if anything, that's what an encyclopedia is for. mdf 18:43, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
I would like to suggest March equinox as the main article (hemispherically unbiased), redirected from First Point of Aries and Vernal equinox; likewise September equinox redirected from First Point of Libra and Autumnal equinox. Or even better: one Equinox article (calendarically unbiased) for all of them. --Tauʻolunga 07:59, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
This is a perfect example of the whole problem. March Equinox may be "hemispherically unbiased", it may appear sensible to many people, and it may be a real term in actual use (in some places), but it isn't the most common term used for the subject, especially in an encyclopaedic context. Wikipedia isn't here to change the world (to be "more sensible" or "correct"), it is here to document the world as it is (with a strong explicit bias to the English-speaking world, hence a strong implicit bias whether you like it or not, to the the northern hemisphere). See WP:COMMONNAME. Lithopsian (talk) 13:41, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

more precise Solstice and Equinox times[edit]

The English speaking world seems to be limited to approximate Solstice and Equinox times, to about the nearest minute.
The French offer a more precise, to the second, master table:

2013       20      11:01:55        21      05:03:57        22      20:44:08        21      17:11:00
2014    20      16:57:05        21      10:51:14        23      02:29:05        21      23:03:01
2015    20      22:45:09        21      16:37:55        23      08:20:33        22      04:47:57
2016    20      04:30:11        20      22:34:11        22      14:21:07        21      10:44:10
2017    20      10:28:38        21      04:24:09        22      20:01:48        21      16:27:57
2018    20      16:15:27        21      10:07:18        23      01:54:05        21      22:22:44
Références :   mars • juin • sept. • déc.
Institut de mécanique céleste et de calcul des éphémérides

Most WP readers do not care about this -- but some might like access to the more accurate times. How can we provide such access in a good way? Would we ever want to replace our template master table with a more-precise master table of times? - (talk) 19:15, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

Return to original image of equinox illumination...[edit]

The original image is returned to the lede of this this page because it's caption and graphics are germane to the narrative and are helpful to the reader. The substituted image, "astronomical calculations..", is deleted because it offers only confusion and puzzlement to the reader—its caption does not comport even with its own graphics, nor with the lede. No explanations were provided for the removal of the original image (see> View history: (.. 04:01, 31 July 2013‎ TeraCard ...) or for the meaning (context) of the "astronomical calculations.." image when it was inserted (see> View history: (.. 08:42, 3 March 2013‎ Teheraner ...). //Jbeans (talk) 20:52, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Main Page link[edit]

Earliest and latest dates[edit]

Before I get down to checking this with some software, the statement "On the Gregorian calendar the Northward equinox can occur as early as March 19 or as late as March 21" - does anyone know if that takes into account time zones? For instance, the equinox could be on 19 March but only in time zones significantly west of the Greenwich Meridian; right or wrong? MidnightBlue (Talk) 14:23, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

In the beginning of the 20th century, March 22nd was possible in the far east- [1]Japf (talk) 22:31, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

Name of article[edit]

The very name of this article is uncited. I also don't see any citation for the claim that the equinox which occurs in March is called the "Autumnal Equinox" in the southern hemisphere. When I lived in Australia, my recollection is that it was called the vernal equinox (though people don't talk about it all that much because it's not considered the official beginning of autumn there).

The OED defines it as "The vernal or spring equinox is at present on the 20 March, and the autumnal on the 22 or 23 September. Just before the reformation of the calendar they were 11 days earlier."

The Free Dictionary defines (using American Heritage) "vernal equinox" as "1. One of two points at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator. At the vernal equinox, the sun is moving along the ecliptic in a northeasterly direction. 2. The moment at which the sun passes through this point on or about March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere."

Merriam Webster says in the "did you know" (not the actual definition) "In the northern hemisphere, the vernal equinox marks the first day of spring and occurs when the sun moves north across the equator. (Vernal comes from the Latin word ver, meaning "spring.") The autumnal equinox marks the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere and occurs when the sun crosses the equator going south."

All of these are consistent with "vernal equinox" being used globally to refer to the equinox around March 21, even in the southern hemisphere. From a very quick web search, the only mentions of "March equinox" or "Northward equinox" that I see are based on this Wikipedia article. So are there any reliable sources which support the name used in this article?

I certainly could be wrong here. But frankly, the name of this article sounds to me like a Wikipedia editor applying common sense rather than following the convention that's actually used in the real world. —Alex (Ashill | talk | contribs) 19:19, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

March equinox is certainly used, and in sources that are definitely not based on Wikipedia. It is far from the most common usage though. Northward equinox I've also seen but its very rare. I'm not aware of anyone calling it the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere. I guess there's no reason I would be, but even if it happens it is a stupid idea because now nobody has a clue what's going on instead of some people wondering if the name is really appropriate. Regardless of common-sense or confusion by folks standing upside down, WP:COMMONNAME would indicate that the title should be Vernal equinox. It is worth noting that Equinox states "In the southern hemisphere, the vernal equinox occurs in September and the autumnal equinox in March.", again with no citation. They really seem to have done a number on this a couple of years ago, nixing the article Vernal equinox and its ilk in favour of more politically correct but apparently less commonly-used terminology. Lithopsian (talk) 20:07, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, it should be called 'vernal equinox'. Here's what appears to be a decent reference for the definition:
Lang, Kenneth (2013), Astrophysical Formulae: Space, Time, Matter and Cosmology, Astronomy and Astrophysics Library (3 ed.), Springer, p. 12, ISBN 3662216396 
The article should also note that the vernal equinox is the origin point of the Right Ascension coordinate. Praemonitus (talk) 16:37, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Disagree - that is a convention we certainly don't use in the Southern Hemisphere. I am Australian, and it is very clear we just had the Autumnal Equinox, not Vernal. I have no doubt you can find a number of books printed in the Northern hemisphere which ignore the distinction, because it is the POV where the authors come from and where they expect their readers to come from. On the other hand, you could look at something like Ellyard, David; Tirion, Wil (2001). The southern sky guide (2nd ed. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 78. ISBN 9780521789585.  , which says "the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north and reaches a point among the western stars of Pisces around 21 March. The entry of the Sun into Pisces therefore marks the northern vernal equinox (the autumn equinox for the Southern Hemisphere)."
Or Mensing, G. Faure, T.M. (2007). Introduction to planetary science: the geological perspective. Dordrecht: Springer. p. 101. ISBN 9781402055447.  which shows a table (which I won't reproduce here) showing that the Northern vernal equinox is the Southern autumnal equinox.
It is also consistent with the article about Solstices, which make the distinction clear: there is an article each for Summer/Winter and June/December variants. You can also find books which call late December the "Winter Solstice" - and I hope you aren't proposing we adopt that.
If you want a reference for the name, how about the following from Flammarion, Camille (2014). Popular Astronomy. Cambridge University Press. p. 26. ISBN 9781108067843. : "In place of speaking of the winter solstice, the summer solstice, the vernal equinox, the autumnal equinox, it would be better to speak of the December solstice, the June solstice, the equinox of March, and the equinox of September. These denominations apply to the whole Earth..." --Gronk Oz (talk) 16:54, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't argue for what makes sense, it documents what already is. The fact you needed three paragraphs to explain why this makes sense is precisely why it shouldn't be this way. Simply examine publications of various types and see what terminology is used, then document it. See WP:NOT. Lithopsian (talk) 17:03, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
It seems to me that we now have a reference that says that it should be called the March equinox. But I don't see any evidence that "March equinox" is the common name anywhere. "Vernal equinox" or "Spring equinox" are very obviously the common names in the northern hemisphere; there's some evidence (less clear to me) that "autumnal equinox" is the common name in the southern hemisphere. Reflecting all of this clearly in the article is more important to me than the name of the article. Making up a name that isn't commonly used anywhere in the interest of being neutral is my main objection to "March equinox" as the title. —Alex (Ashill | talk | contribs) 17:50, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Done, re sidereal time/right ascension.
Thanks. I've found one source that explicitly says it's called the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere ("First day of Spring 2017: Interesting facts about the vernal equinox", Telegraph, March 21, 2017 ), but not nearly as good a source as that textbook. I also found a few Australian news articles that refer to the equinox in September as vernal ([1], [2]), but some in the same newspaper that refer to the equinox in March as vernal ([3]). —Alex (Ashill | talk | contribs) 17:36, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Huh? The reason I took three paragraphs was because I gave three published sources, and also referred to the related Wikipedia articles for consistency. Not because I was giving my personal opinion. --Gronk Oz (talk) 17:40, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Ugh, I think having five separate articles each for solstice and equinox (the solstice/equinox article itself plus March equinox, vernal/spring equinox, September equinox, and autumnal equinox) is a duplicative mess. Why do we have separate articles for each solstice anyway? Vernal equinox may merit an article for itself because of the rites of spring and related holidays as well as its importance as the sidereal time/right ascension zero point (which wasn't even mentioned in the article until just now), but otherwise, is there anything that is or could/should be in this article or September equinox that isn't best folded in to equinox itself? Or should the articles just be merged? —Alex (Ashill | talk | contribs) 17:44, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for raising the astronomical context. The Vernal Equinox is not only a date but a point (direction) in space. It is the position of the sun when it crosses the celestial equator in a northward direction. This location continues to exist 365 days a year, indeed is most often seen in the night sky at any time other than March. The implication in this article that this location in the sky is somehow different depending on which Earth hemisphere it is observed from is blatantly false (as well as uncited). Vernal equinox is the proper name of this location and then also of the date. Calling it "spring equinox" to protect those poor souls who we imagine are frightened of Latin terms just starts the confusion, and calling it the March equinox is an attempt to WP:RGW because it isn't yet the widely-accepted terminology. Lithopsian (talk) 13:54, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
Is it time to make a formal proposal? While it wouldn't be binding, it seems like merge (with) Equinox would be preferred to renaming, if any change is to be made? Lithopsian (talk) 13:57, 5 April 2017 (UTC)