While Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer, fall officially arrives on September 22nd or 23rd, and ends with the winter solstice in late December. Meteorological autumn begins September 1st and ends sooner.
As I mentioned earlier, the fall season brings about much appreciated cooler weather after the intense heat of summer. Fall also brings about other changes,too; fog, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, frosts and freezes and, sometimes, the first snow of the colder seasons. But what actually happens to makes these weather changes occur?
On the fall equinox, the sun's direct rays strike along the equator and the earth's axis is equidistant from the sun, meaning we're not tilted towards...or away from...the sun. Earth is pretty much straight up and down. This happens to be true, too, on the spring equinox; the difference comes from how our planet faces the sun. Since Earth travels eastward around the sun, on the autumnal equinox the Northern Hemisphere is transitioning from direct to indirect sunlight...causing cooling temperatures.
As soon as late August, you may begin to notice that mornings aren't as bright as they were in July. And the days start getting shorter. To coordinate our lives with the changes in daylight, we adjust our clocks. We "fall back" and gain an hour as we switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time
This time of year is the only season to have two names; fall and autumn. the use of the term autumn dates back to the 14th century when it was adopted into the English language from the French word automne. The word fall which refers to the dropping, or falling of leaves around this time of year, dates back to the 17th century. Although both terms have been used since the 18th century, the term fall is more popular in the US while autumn is used more in Great Britain.
I came across several interesting facts about fall...or autumn...that I sure didn't know. How many of these fun fall facts do you know?
1. Since ancient times, autumn has been classified as one of the most important times of the year, because a bountiful harvest is necessary for survival. 2. Autumn babies, those born between September and November are twice as likely to reach age 100 as the rest of the population. 3. Men think women are more attactive in the cooler months. 4. The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the fall equinox. Before artificial lighting, the farmers relied on the brightness of the harvest moon to give them enough natural light to harvest their crops. 5. In response to cooler weather, trees stop producing chlorophyll, the green pigment that gives leaves their color. As the green fades, other pigments become more prominent, thus the yellows, golds, reds, and oranges appear before the leaves turn brown and fall off. 6. Scientists believe global warnming can affect autumn's colors and may alter the habitats of certain trees. 7. Each fall, the black-capped chickadee's tiny hippocampus enlarges by 30% which enables it to remember where it collected seeds in different trees and on the ground. 8. According to Greek legend, autumn begins when Persephone returns to Hades in the underworld. Heartbroken, her mother the goddess of grain and harvest, allows the crops on Earth to die until her daughter returns again in the spring. 9. Heart attacks and auto accidents increase after the start of daylight saving time in the spring, and decrease the Monday after daylight saving time ends. 10. According to superstition, catching falling autumn leaves brings good luck.
This weekend, little Quigley and I will go for a hop through the woods and I will marvel at the lovely fall foliage. Later, we'll warm ourselves with a cup of hot mulled cider at the local Farmer's Market. This is such a super time of year to enjoy the great out-of- doors!
Whatever you do this weekend, have a great time, stay safe, and I hope to see you back here on Monday!