In autumn fewer hours of sunlight and colder temperatures trigger a chemical change in tree leaves. That’s why they can turn different colors such as red, orange, yellow, and brown. In some areas leaves become so bright they’re visible from outer space.
Pump(kin) Up the Fun
Farmers plant over a billion pounds of the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) in early July to get a crop in the fall. Good thing—Americans spend millions of dollars every autumn on pumpkins.
The Taurid meteor shower occurs every year in mid-autumn. Meteor showers are mostly made up of tiny dust particles, but this meteor shower also contains a large amount of pebble-size debris. When this debris enters Earth’s atmosphere, it burns up and creates spectacular fireballs.
Some birds really show off their smarts in autumn. During this season certain species store seeds and other food in tree hollows for colder months. To help them remember where they stashed the grub, these birds’ brains actually grow larger!
Having a Ball in Fall
Fall officially begins on the autumnal equinox (around September 23)—when Earth is positioned in such a way that the sun shines directly on the Equator. In Lithuania, people burn wooden sculptures to celebrate. In Japan, pictured above, the event is a national holiday in which kids get a vacation day.
Photo credits: leaves: George Bailey, Dreamstime; pumpkins: Joao Virissimo, Dreamstime; meteor: Nasa; bird: Rck953, Dreamstime; Japan: Nicholashan, Dreamstime