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By Rick and Susie Graetz
Department of Geography University of Montana 

This is Montana

The promise of the equinox comes to the Montana prairie


Rick and Susie Graetz

The Missouri Breaks in late spring where Rick Graetz caught the arrival of the season.

During the Dec. 21 winter solstice, the sun takes a brief respite on the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5 degrees south latitude. Over the next six months, it journeys north for a June 21 rendezvous with the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees north latitude. En route, on about March 20, for one brief moment it touches its rays directly over the equator, declaring the spring equinox.

In Montana, this pronouncement is merely a promise of something to come, as March's third week usually finds us yet deep in winter. The pledge is that it will happen – the only question is when.

When it's early May i...

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