Thursday night, we move into spring. It officially begins at 10:49 p.m. local time.

If you think the vernal equinox (or the spring equinox is how most people reference it) is early this year compared to what we’ve seen in recent years, you would be correct. In short, it’s because of the fact that this year was a leap year.

Normally the spring equinox falls on March 20th. Now the time varies during the time of day, but one thing that we’ve seen is on leap years (every four years), the equinox is always a little earlier than normal. In 2016, it was at 12:30 a.m. In 2012, it was at 1:14 a.m.

So this year spring starts at 11:49 p.m. on the 19th, the earliest in 124 years. The last time it started earlier than this was back in 1896. That year the vernal equinox was on the 19th, at 8:51 p.m.

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