FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – With so much news related to COVID-19 on our minds lately, it may be easy to forget that the spring season arrives astronomically with the vernal (or spring) equinox occurring Thursday, March 19 at 11:50 pm Eastern time.

At the moment of the equinox, both the northern and southern hemispheres receive the sun’s rays equally. The sun will rise due east and set due west. The amounts of daylight and nighttime are not exactly equal, like many believe, but they are close. In Fort Wayne, we’ll have a sunrise at 7:46 am and a sunset at 7:51 pm.

If something doesn’t sound right to you about starting the spring season on March 19, here’s why…it hasn’t happened since 1896! Since 1900 did not have a leap year (a new century year only gets a leap year day if it can be divided by 400), all our spring equinox dates in the 1900s ended up falling on the 20th or 21st. With the year 2000 having a leap year, we will have some years when, instead of the 20th, equinoxes will fall on the 19th.

The next time we’ll have a spring equinox occur on March 19 will be in 2024.