The fall season is officially here, which means it’s time for some of the best weather of the year! We’re kicking off the season by uncovering five facts you may not have known about autumn.
1. The Sky Appears Bluer in the Fall
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Have you ever noticed that the sky is a richer blue in the fall and winter? In the spring and summer, the atmosphere holds a lot of water droplets, creating a white haziness in the sky. In addition, the sun is at a higher angle during this time, so every color wavelength is fighting to be seen. In the fall and winter, there are less water droplets in the sky since there’s lower humidity, and the sun is at a lower sun angle, meaning the chance to see vivid blues and purples increases.
2. Leaves are Always Red, Orange, and Gold… You Just Can’t See It
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Did you know that when leaves change color, they’re actually revealing colors that were there all along? As we all learned in science class, chlorophyll is the chemical in plants that make them green. Sunlight helps fuel the cells containing chlorophyll, and as they work to turn light into energy, they give off a bright green color. However, when the amount of sunlight lessens in the fall and winter, chlorophyll breaks down. This allows the red, orange, and gold hues in the plants overtake the green, giving us fall colors.
3. Fall is the Best Time to See the Aurora Borealis
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If seeing the aurora borealis is on your bucket list (and if it’s not, it should be), then the best time for viewing is during the fall. Geomagnetic storms occur when charged solar particles squeeze through our atmosphere’s defenses and collide with gaseous particles in Earth’s sky, creating a light show you can’t look away from. It’s reported that these storms happen twice as often in the fall and because of the longer and clearer nights, this is the best time for viewing!
4. We Experience 12 Hours of Light and 12 Hours of Dark on the Fall Equinox
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The autumnal equinox is one of two days a year when the sun is exactly in line with Earth’s celestial equator. As a result, Earth receives exactly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. The trick to remembering this is in the name: The word “equinox” comes from the Latin meaning “equal night.” During the fall equinox, the center of the sun is above the horizon for exactly 12 hours.
5. There are Technically Two Starts to the Fall Season
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When does the fall season begin? Believe it or not there are actually two correct answers, because there are meteorological seasons and astronomical seasons. Meteorological seasons start on September 1st, December 1st, March 1st, and June 1st, respectively. Astronomical seasons start on the equinoxes and solstices, meaning the dates can vary from year to year but are always around the 20th days of September, December, March, and June. Most people recognize the start to the seasons according to the astronomical schedule, but if you’re feeling festive and want to celebrate the change in seasons according to the meteorological start, nobody’s stopping you!
Tell us what you’re looking forward to during the fall season!