Vernal = of, in, or appropriate to spring. Equinox = the time or date, twice each year, at which the sun crosses the celestial Equator, when day and night are of equal length (about September 22 and March 20). Vernal Equinox = the first day of spring. Clearly this is a figurative acclamation only, as spring-like it is not [at least in these parts]. The equinoxes are the only times when the sub solar point – which refers to the place on the Earth’s surface where the center of the Sun is exactly overhead – is on the Equator. So, perhaps we should instead say that the Vernal Equinox marks the first day of spring at and around the Equator! This way, we wouldn’t feel so cheated by Mother Nature when the temperatures remain subzero and another big blizzard is forecasted for tomorrow. Happy spring, everyone!