Eggs and the Vernal Equinox
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!
Here is a report from a autumnal equinox egg balancing experiment from a middle school in Tucson, Arizona!
We concluded that the hypothesis, that an egg will balance on the equinox, was not proved. A related conclusion was that middle school students can successfully handle an egg about 36 times before is cracks. (This experiment was really an attempt by me to arouse interest in the equinox. In the past I have done sunrise and sunset graphs, but that can be tiresome after a while. This egg lesson really caught their interest.)
See Also "Bad Astronomy" on this topic and their attempts to end this myth - updated URLs
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