Autumn Leaves…And More…Fall Facts

By  | September 11, 2017 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

Fall, Autumn, Harvest Season…whatever you call it this time of year has several truly amazing facts:

 

downloadIn addition to the brilliant colors of fall leaves, the autumn equinox signals another colorful spectacle — the aurora borealis, also called the Northern Lights. Besides the lengthening of nights and cool evening weather, which are great for stargazers, autumn truly is “aurora season,” according to NASA. That’s because geomagnetic storms are about twice as frequent as the annual average during the fall.

 

images (1)Living things respond to the light changes that come with fall, with trees shedding their leaves and animals preparing for hibernation. Fall can bring an especially noticeable change to the high-attitude-living male Siberian hamster. That’s because the rodent’s testes swell up 17 times their size from short days to long; the swelling allows, in part, the animals to time reproduction properly.

 

harvest-moon-wallpaperAutumn gets its own full moon, the Harvest Moon.  Before artificial lighting, farmers took advantage of the full moon’s light to harvest their crops. In late summer and early autumn, many crops ripen all at once, making lots of work for farmers who had to stay in the fields after sundown to harvest all the goods. Such moonlight became essential to their harvest, and the Harvest Moon emerged, according to NASA.

 

images (2)Climate change may dull the picture most synonymous with autumn — fall leaves. Leaves change their wardrobes in response to chilly temperatures and less light (as days begin to shorten); they stop producing chlorophyll, the green pigment that helps leaves capture sunlight to power photosynthesis. As green fades, the leave’s other pigments, such as the orange and yellow of carotenoids shine through. Vibrant red hues are the result of anthocyanins, pigments that are produced in the fall.

 

autumnalequinoxAs Earth orbits the sun, it revolves around its axis at a 23.5-degree angle so that it is pointed directly toward the sun at the summer solstice, directly away from the sun during the winter solstice, and at a right angle with the sun on the equinoxes; that right angle means the sun shines about equal amounts of light across the Northern Hemisphere on the equinoxes. If this trek around the sun took exactly 365 days, Earth would be in its autumn equinox position on the same day each year. Since Earth takes 365.25 days to make a complete journey around the sun, the date is slightly different each year. The fall equinox won’t happen again on Sept. 24 until 2303.

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