Top 10 Fun and Colourful Facts about Autumn
Autumn is the time of year where leaves change colour, the temperatures become cooler and the nights are darker. While these are what we observe about autumn, what facts about autumn do we really know? Here are ten autumn facts you should know:
1. There are different ways of determining the start of the season
Signs such as cooler temperatures, autumn flowers and darker nights signal the arrival of autumn but there are three methods that determine the start of the season. The meteorological method divides the seasons into three-month periods with September, October and November marking autumn.
The astronomical method of determining seasons is based on where the sun shines on the surface of the earth. Spring and autumn begin during the equinoxes, when the sun passes either the north or south of the equator. Since these don’t occur at the same time each year, the start of the astronomical autumn is different year after year.
The last method is called phenological and is different because it doesn’t rely on a calendar, unlike the first two. This approach looks at changes in the behaviour of plants and animals – changes in colour and migrations – to determine when the seasons begin.
2. The days are shorter
Days and nights have about the same length during the September equinox. Those belonging to the Northern Hemisphere are experiencing days when the sun rises later and the night comes sooner.
3. This is the season where trees are preparing for winter
One of the easiest indicators of autumn is the changing of leaf colour. Given that days are shorter during autumn, trees use this as a sign to prepare for winter. Since there isn’t enough light for photosynthesis during winter, trees start to close food production systems and lessen chlorophyll amount in leaves.
4. There will be a slight change in the autumn equinox date in 2303
Normally, the autumn equinox occurs on the 22nd or 23rd of September. But in 1931, this occurred on 24 September because of our calendar’s not quite perfect symmetry with the orbit of the earth. The next instance of a 24 September autumn equinox is in 2303.
5. This season marks Persephone’s abduction by Hades
In Greek mythology, Hades (god of the Underworld) abducted Persephone to be his queen. Demeter, goddess of the harvest and Persephone’s mother, was furious at this and caused all the crops to die until her daughter was returned. An arrangement was made to allow Persephone to live half the year with Hades and half on earth. Each time she returns to earth marks the beginning of spring.
6. This season is called autumn or fall
Typically, the use of the word fall is attributed to North America but it has been used in England since the 17th century where the common phrase was “fall of the leaf.” The use of autumn is rather recent.
7. Those born during this season live longer
Babies who are born during this season are more likely to live to 100 compared to those born during the rest of the year, according to the Journal of Aging Research.
8. The reason for autumn are chemicals
Chlorophyll is responsible for the green leaves of trees and plants. Its production declines during starting in autumn and as such, other chemicals such as flavonoids, carotenoids and anthocyanins become more prominent resulting in different coloured flowers and plants.
9. This season was once referred to as “harvest”
This was true until about 1500.
10. This season marks high testosterone levels
This is the case according to several studies. However, whether it’s because of ancient mating instincts or increases social activity is speculation at this point.
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