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Can You Balance an Egg on the Equinox?

By , About.com GuideSeptember 17, 2012

The autumnal equinox is Saturday, September 22, 2012. This is the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere, or the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere. Are you familiar with the urban legend that it's easier to balance an egg on end on the equinox than on other days of the year? Test it and see! The vernal equinox one of the two times during the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and the spin axis of the Earth points 90 degrees away from the sun. Why should this affect your ability to balance an egg on end? The premise is that aligning the gravitational pull of the Sun with that from the center of the Earth should somehow make it easier to balance any object.

Test the Egg-Balancing Hypothesis Yourself

Take a carton of eggs and try balancing the eggs on end today. Can you stand any of them up (without resorting to tricks like putting salt under the eggs)? Can you stand eggs on their small ends as well as their large ends? Keep track of your results and repeat the process on the equinox. Do you note any differences? An easier hypothesis to test is: Eggs can only be balanced on-end on the equinox. If you can balance an egg today, you've disproven the hypothesis. It's that easy!

One thing I find neat about egg-balancing is that a balanced egg will hold its position until a vibration knocks it down. How long can you keep an egg standing?

September 22, 2009 at 1:32 am
(1) Jody says:

Yes, they can be balanced on the 22nd. My father showed me that they could in fact be balanced on the equinox (spring or fall, obviously.) And, that they were next to impossible to balance any other time. It’s unbelievable until you see it.

August 30, 2011 at 9:18 am
(2) Samuel says:

Next to impossible? In 10 minutes my biology class balanced it 9 times and it was just a totally normal day.

September 22, 2010 at 9:33 am
(3) Kaitlyn says:

Sorry Jody, you can balance an egg on any day. It just takes patience and a steady hand.

September 22, 2010 at 9:42 am
(4) Swanny203 says:

In order to balance any object, the object’s center of mass needs to be over the object’s support base. Therefore, an egg can be balanced on any day or time – as long as one is steady enough to get the egg’s center of mass over its support base.

April 1, 2011 at 4:42 am
(5) zepplin says:

YES this can be done , i have done it with a dozen eggs all at once, all of the eggs stood on end untill the passing, and fell at the same time within seconds , those who choose not to believe this are rather narrow minded or think they are some kind of authority of genius , it is not a myth IT IS A FACT

June 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm
(6) Jonah says:

Yes, it is a FACT that you can do this on the equinox. You can also do it any other time.

No body has pointed out the obvious reason WHY the myth that “you can ONLY balance an egg on the equinox” IS a MYTH: because the shifting of the Earth’s axis is continuous. This myth is predicated on the assumption that the earth stands still for most of the time, THEN it suddenly begins to shift it’s axis around the time of the equinox. FALSE. The earths axis is changing steadily in an ebb and flow fashion. That is why the temparatures change GRADUALLY from hot (summer) to cold (winter) and vice-versa.

If it were TRUE that the earth is stationary, and THEN during the spring and fall it begins to shift it’s axis at that time, then MAYBE that would help you do some cool tricks that you otherwise could not do, but that is not the case.

2 + 2 = 4 wins again.

September 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm
(7) Shawn C. says:

I’ve been wanting to try this experiment for at least the past 22 years and I finally did! I have done it twice so far and the egg is still standing up! Thanks “Miss V” one of my high school teachers for telling me about this. How cool!

March 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm
(8) John says:

I have tried to balance eggs on various days with little success. During the Spring equinox it was a breeze, but only at a certain time of day. I had no problem at all balancing a whole row of eggs. Both before and since, I have not been able to balance them.
Every generation, there are arrogant fools who believe science has answered every question, but every generation discovers more. That is the beauty of science. 500 years ago, folks were probably equally confident they knew all there was to know, but they were wrong.
It’s a cool phenomenon; enjoy it!

May 3, 2012 at 1:41 am
(9) BobBurger says:

John while if you want to believe that it is some sort of magic thats perfectly fine, but if you want to know the answer as to why you couldn’t on other days is because you knew you couldn’t. If you attempt a difficult task knowing you will fail, you will… If you think you will succeed, you can.

July 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm
(10) Rich P says:

I have repeatedly tried this, both on the spring equinox and fall. It worked. I was at a Perkins in Anoka Mn. and talked the cooks into trying it. We had a dozen eggs balanced on end. The customers were amazed. It did not take a ‘steady hand’ as somebody here says. I have tried it on other days of the year and have never been able to balance an egg.

September 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm
(11) bobc says:

It’s like this, especially for all of you genius’….I have been doing this egg balancing for over 25 years….And I can tell tell all of you that, it has nothing to do whether you cannot do it on off equinoxal times of the year or not just because you deep down in your mind you know that it can’t be done, or that it is that time of year and it will work….BS!!….I have bet big money on it could be done anytime of the year, and it Cannot be done, I have lost the money….It can only be done at these two times of the year and that is it….So, for the ones that say they have done this on any given day, you are full of it plain and simple…So please don’t come here and BS the people that haven’t done this before and disprove this phenomenon…You all try to non shalantly explain it all off as if everythings a damn trick or something, science is science for a reason.. Quit playing like you are some sort of Science Professor’s with a know it all attitude and debunk things just for the sake of debunking things…It only shows how truly ignorant you are to shake the meaning of true science…..Get a life!!!!….

September 22, 2012 at 9:37 am
(12) Sherry says:

Yes, I’ve done the same thing – set up my eggs a day before and let them stand all day during the equinox, one more day thereafter, and then they finally came down – all laying in the same direction. Like a dance! I think four days was my longest run. It probably is possible to balance on any other day with the right egg, but it’s harder and for way shorter periods of time. Minutes.

September 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm
(13) Robert Dale says:

I have tried this without success, but maybe without enough effort. My daughter did it at my house, and I let it stand until it fell, about 4 days.

September 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm
(14) JWB says:

Some of you are way out there. Yes, this can be done anytime – not just on certain magical days of the year.

December 28, 2012 at 11:43 am
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