The cool, crisp days of autumn are approaching. As fall foliage creates a colorful display and kids frolic in leaf piles on the lawn, here are a few lesser known facts about this great time of year. Autumn may call to mind Halloween and the return of school, but there are other factors that make this season unique.
- The first day of autumn is known as the autumnal equinox. On this day, the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal. This is because the sun is aligned with the center of the Earth between the north and south of the planet. The other equinox occurs in the spring, which arrives in the third week of March in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Those that live closest to the equator never experience the season of autumn. Around the equator, the temperature remains consistently warm.
- Yellow, orange and variations thereof always reside in the pigmentation of tree leaves, but they are overpowered by the abundance of green from the chlorophyll in the leaves. Come autumn, when the sun weakens and days grow shorter, the amount of chlorophyll in leaves diminishes, allowing the other pigments in the leaves to show through.
- Red and purple leaves are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.
- Fall is a peak migration time for many species of birds. During autumn, birds will fly to other areas seeking more hospitable climates. The Arctic tern journeys about 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration. That is like going all the way across the United States about three and a half times
- Contrary to popular belief, squirrels that have spent the entire autumn collecting acorns and other foods do not hibernate for the winter. Rather, they spend the majority of their time in nests they built to shelter them from harsh weather. When squirrels do come out in winter, they are usually tunneling under the snow to find the food they buried during the fall.
- Halloween is a large part of autumn. The concept of wearing masks and costumes hails from ancient Celtic tradition. The Celts believed ghosts roamed on Halloween, and people wore disguises to hide from the spirits.
- You’re bound to see pumpkins as part of autumn decor. The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks. They called this edible orange item “pepon,” which means “large melon.”
- Evergreen trees will not lose their leaves like deciduous trees. Their leaves, also called needles, are covered with a thick wax. This wax protects the inner components of the needles, preventing them from freezing.
- Autumn also signals another colorful spectacle apart from the tree leaves. The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, tends to be visible this time of year. This is because geomagnetic storms are about twice as likely to occur during the fall, thanks to cool evening weather.
Q.: What did the tree say to autumn?
A.: Leaf me alone.
Q.: What did one autumn leaf say to another?
A.: I'm falling for you.
Q.: How do you fix a broken pumpkin?
A.: With a pumpkin patch
Q.: Why are trees very forgiving?
A.: Because in the fall they "Let it go" and in the spring they "Turn over a new leaf".
Q.: What's the ratio of a pumpkin's circumference to its diameter?
A.: Pumpkin Pi
Q.: Did you hear about the tree that had to take time off of work in autumn?
A.: It was on paid leaf.
Q.: What do you give to a pumpkin that is trying to quit smoking?
A.: A pumpkin patch