Spring equinox: Google welcomes first day of spring with an animated Doodle

20 Mar 2014

The spring equinox 2014 Doodle from Google

When you first visit the Google homepage today, it may seem like something is missing. But a cheerful gardener with a magical watering can soon makes things right in today’s beautifully animated Doodle.

The flickering line drawing of the gardener shows him watering the area above the search bar, making the letters of the stylised Google logo sprout up in fine flowering form. The second ‘g’ is still amiss, though, but the green-fingered gardener gladly waters his own hairless head and fits right in with a floral headpiece.

Don’t let any miserable weather fool you: 20 March marks the spring equinox, also known as the beginning of springtime in the northern hemisphere. On this day, the sun rises exactly in the east and, 12 hours later, settles exactly in the west, dividing day and night into two equal parts.

This happens because the Earth is in such a position that neither the North nor South Pole is tilted towards the sun. Following this day, the axis will begin to tilt the North Pole in the sun’s direction, giving us longer, warmer days – we hope!

Equinoxes are often marked at pagan strongholds such as Stonehenge. Come 22 September, another 12-hour day will come for the autumnal equinox, this time marking the beginning of winter and shorter days.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.