When's the first day of spring? Canadians head to Google for equinox answers
A cyclist rides under a cherry blossom tree in full bloom at Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 18, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Monday, March 21, 2016 9:03AM EDT
Google searches for "first day of spring" spiked on Sunday, as many Canadians eagerly welcomed the new season.
According to data provided by the search engine, "When is the first day of spring?" trended across the country on Sunday, and searches for "equinox" and "vernal equinox" were up nearly 2000 per cent from Saturday to Sunday.
For those who haven't already searched the terms, here's a look at some of the questions and answers that were trending on Google this weekend:
When is the first day of spring?
This year, the first day of spring fell on Sunday, March 20. But that isn't a fixed date.
The first day of the season is determined by an astronomical event called an equinox, rather than a specific day of the year.
In the past, the spring equinox has historically fallen on the 19, 20, or 21 of March.
What is the definition of an equinox?
An equinox describes the moment when the sun shines directly above the equator.
This happens twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.
At each equinox, the phenomenon causes roughly equal hours of daylight and nighttime.
Winter and summer, on the other hand, are marked by solstices.
In North America, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, when the sun reaches its southernmost point on the celestial sphere. This usually occurs around December 20.
In June, when the sun is at its northernmost point, North America experiences its longest day of the year, the summer solstice.
What is the vernal equinox/What's the difference between the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox?
The vernal equinox is the term for the spring equinox.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, vernal comes from the Latin word "vernalis," which is derived from the Latin word for spring, "ver."
In the fall, the equinox is known as the autumnal equinox.