Eight Amazing Autumnal Facts to Fascinate Your Friends
1. The Start of Autumn
Autumn as defined by the Earth’s orbit around the sun and starts on the equinox which falls on either 22 or 23 September.
2. The Trees Wind Down
One of the most stunning signs of Autumn is the turning of the leaves. The shorter days are a sign to trees to begin to prepare for winter.
In winter there is not enough light for photosynthesis to occur, so as the days shorten, the trees begin to close their production systems and reduce the amount of chlorophyll in their leaves and have a rest.
3. The Colour Show Begins
As the chlorophyll decreases, other chemicals such as Flavanoids, Carotenoids and Anthocyains are responsible for the vibrant ambers, reds and yellows of autumn.
Did you know some of these chemicals are the same ones that give carrots (beta-carotenes) and egg yolks (luteins) their colours?
4. Autumn Babies Live Longer
A study in the Journal of Aging Research found that babies born during the autumn months are more likely to live to 100 than those born during the rest of the year. The Queen must be busy at this time of year!
5. Nights Get Longer
The word equinox comes from the Latin equi (meaning equal) and nox (meaning night) accounting for the equinox marking the time when day and night are of equal length.
We often notice the nights begin to draw in from this point as after the Autumn equinox, the night longer than the day, until this is reversed at the Spring equinox.
6. 24 September 2303
Generally speaking the autumn equinox always falls on either 22 or 23 September, but not quite always.
As the Gregorian calendar is not quite in perfect symmetry with the Earth’s orbit, the autumn equinox very occasionally falls on September 24. This will next happen in 2303.
7. Persephone’s return
In Greek mythology, autumn began when Persephone was abducted by Hades to be the Queen of the Underworld. In distress Persephone’s mother, Demeter (the goddess of the harvest), caused all the crops on Earth to die until her daughter was returned, marking spring.
8. Autumn or Fall
We often think of ‘Fall’ as the North American version of the word ‘Autumn’, but it was in fact in widespread use in England until relatively recently.
The word autumn entered English from the French automne and didn’t become common usage until the 18th century.