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First Day Of Spring 2012: Vernal Equinox DATE, TIME (PHOTOS)

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Blossoming flowers, warmer temperatures and the promise of new life are all on the horizon as the first day of spring has arrived.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at 1:14 a.m. EDT marks the vernal equinox, and official start of spring. But as people in the Northern Hemisphere swap snow shoes for rain boots, those in the Southern Hemisphere will begin preparing for fall.

The vernal equinox and autumnal equinox occur in March and September, respectively. An equinox occurs when the sun shines directly on the equator and, during this time, periods of night and day are nearly equal.

In 2012, spring will last until June 19, but a winter of unseasonably warm weather in some areas might mean trouble in the coming months. Insects, for example, might more plentiful as they haven't had the chance to die off.

The first day of spring also follows the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, which goes into effect on March 11. This year, the autumnal equinox, and official start of fall, will occur on Sept. 22.

Eager for spring? Check out some photos in the slideshow below, and submit some of your own!

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