Science Alliance

Eggs and the Vernal Equinox

The Vernal Equinox & Raw Eggs An old tradition or just a myth?!

Materials:

  • 1 raw egg per student (I know this sounds dangerous)

    I don't know how this got started but it is somewhat of a tradition to stand raw eggs on end on the first day of spring. Since the March 1996 Science Alliance meeting was on the vernal equinox (first day of spring) - we gave it a shot.

    Astronomers define the beginning of spring as the time when the Sun is seen to cross the celestial equator. There is no astronomical reason why you should be able to balance raw eggs on the first day of spring as opposed to any other day (Do you have doubts? Ask an Astronomer!)

    In fact you can balance a raw egg on end on any day of the year! All one needs is a bit of a steady hand and some patience. To prove this get out the eggs and try it for yourself!

    The teachers at the March 1996 Science Alliance meeting were (mostly) able to balance their eggs. This experiment was repeated on the Summer Solstice of 1996 with a different group of teachers. Again, most teachers had no trouble balancing their eggs on a day that is as far from an Equinox as you can get!

    Feel free to send your Egg Balancing Results (or any questions or comments you may have) to the Fairmount Center staff at facsme@wsuhub.uc.twsu.edu. If you send us the results of your equinox experiment, we encourage you to do the same for other days as well!

    Here is a report from a autumnal equinox egg balancing experiment from a middle school in Tucson, Arizona!

    See Also "Bad Astronomy" on this topic and their attempts to end this myth - updated URLs


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