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Vernal equinox 2020: Google doodles celebrate Earth's changing seasons

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Google's doodle marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere on March 19, 2020.

(Image credit: Google)

Google's doodle marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere on March 19, 2020. 

Image 2 of 2

Google's doodle marking the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere on March 19, 2020.

(Image credit: Google)

Google's doodle marking the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere on March 19, 2020. 

Spring is coming early to the Northern Hemisphere (and fall to the Southern) and Google has two new balloon-themed doodles to celebrate the changing seasons.

This year, the seasons change this evening (March 19 EDT, March 20 GMT), the earliest equinox in 124 years. That record is on account of a quirk of the leap year cycles, which has given the U.S. relatively early spring equinox dates since 2000.

The equinox marks when Earth's orbit around the sun carries the planet so that its axis points neither toward nor away from the sun. That alignment means that the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive equal amounts of the sun's energy.

Related: The 2020 vernal equinox brings earliest spring to the US in 124 years

As Earth's orbit continues, the planet will be pulled so that the axis gradually points the Northern Hemisphere toward the sun and the Southern Hemisphere away from it. That's why this equinox is the vernal, or spring, equinox in the north and the autumnal equinox in the south.

The solstice this year, when the axis points most directly toward and away from the sun, will occur on June 20.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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  • OChrisA
    Admin said:
    Spring is coming early to the Northern Hemisphere (and fall to the Southern) and Google has two new balloon-themed doodles to celebrate the changing seasons.

    Vernal equinox 2020: Google doodles celebrate Earth's changing seasons : Read more
    The only problem is - the equinox falls on 20 March for most of the world. So I went to Google this morning and was told a lie (I live in Europe). You'd have thought a company with the global reach of Google would be a little less parochial.
    Reply