Fun facts about Autumn that you may not have known:
🍁 Autumn used to be called “harvest”
Until about 1500, autumn was just called “harvest.” The full moon closest to the autumn equinox is known as a harvest moon. Before cities electrified, the bright night of the harvest moon was essential for farmers harvesting their late-year crops.
🍁The aurora borealis is more likely to occur
Turn your eyes North to the aurora borealis. Also known as the Northern Lights, these geomagnetic storms occur when charged solar particles squeeze through our atmosphere’s defenses and collide with gaseous particles in Earth’s sky. Thanks to longer, clearer nights, this free light show occurs twice as often during fall and winter months.
🍁The autumnal equinox is neat
The Autumn Equinox (which occurred on September 22, 2016) is one of two days a year when the sun is exactly in line with Earth’s celestial equator (think, the equator projected onto the sky). 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.”
🍁More pumpkins, please!
Pumpkins, perhaps the most iconic image of autumn, are grown on six of the seven continents (sorry, Antarctica). Their name comes from the Greek word pepon, roughly meaning “large melon.” The word traded hands from French (pompon) to British (pumpion) before colonial Americans dubbed it pumpkin. The colonials went one step further: the phrase “pumpkin-head,” referring to a dork with short hair cut all around, is recorded in America as early as 1781.
🍁Fall leaf colors are actually present year-round
The gorgeous red, orange, and yellow pigments in fall foliage are actually there all year, just under the surface. Sunlight helps fuel plant cells containing a chemical called chlorophyll, which gives leaves its vivid green color while working to turn light into energy. When sunlight diminishes in fall, chlorophyll breaks down, letting the plant’s hidden red, yellow, and orange hues shine.