Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Google Doodles to celebrate Vernal, Spring, or March Equinox; you pick

Google's latest 2012 Doodle celebrates the coming of Spring in the northern hemisphere, and the autumn in the southern hemisphere. March 20, 2012 is the Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, or as some have started to call it, the March Equinox.

Some have begun calling this day the March Equinox instead of Spring or Vernal Equinox because in the northern hemisphere, where Google is headquartered (Mountain View, Calif.) it is the first day of spring, but in the southern hemisphere, this would be the autumnal equinox, exactly the opposite.

That's also reflected in Google's Doodles for the day. Much of the northern hemisphere gets a Doodle celebrating Spring (above, top, from the Canadian Google homepage), while much of the southern hemisphere gets a Google Doodle celebrating Fall (above, bottom, from the Chilean Google homepage).

To mark the coming of spring and autumn, today’s Google Doodle was designed by Finnish clothing design company Marimekko. Marimekko is known for its bold, colorful prints. We'd admit, though, if we didn't know we were looking for the word "Google," we'd have trouble finding it.

An equinox is one of two times during the year when the length of day and the length of night are approximately equal, and the vernal equinox marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.

The exact date of that doesn't always match up with the equinox, though, as location has a lot to do with it. For example, the date when Washington, D.C. had a day with equal daylight and night hours was actually March 16.

Astronomically, scientists define an equinox as that moment when the sun arrives at one of two intersection points of the ecliptic (the Sun's path across the sky), and the celestial equator (Earth's equator projected onto the sky).

If you're in the N.H., Happy Spring. If you're in the S.H., Happy Autumn.

Google posted a video about the Doodle; you can see it below.

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