Some of the most colorful autumn leaves on the planet are visible from space


It’s one thing to drive down a quiet street and witness the burst of rich color that fall leaves grace much of the nation as the trees begin their transition to winter.

It’s quite another to see them… from space!

Some areas of the planet are so enriched with deciduous trees that colorful exhibits cover hundreds of square miles and are easily spotted by satellites – or even astronauts!

Over the past few years, NASA’s Earth Observatory program has collected some of their favorite shows seen from various satellites thousands of miles away.

Their most recent image showcases the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows of the Adirondack Mountains of northeastern New York – one of the nation’s prime fall leaf viewing areas.

Dry conditions in the summer of 2022 dulled fall foliage in many parts of the United States, according to Kathryn Hansen of the Earth Observatory. But that’s not the case in the Adirondacks, where LANDSAT satellites found no “dull” displays there.

A little further south in the Pennsylvania Appalachians, brilliant fall colors could be spotted along the ridge tops:

When the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this naturally colored image of the Dzhugdzhur Mountains in Siberia, the cold autumn and winter weather had begun to leave its mark on the landscape.

Weather Fox

A somewhat similar scene could be found in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia…all awash in color:

Those north of the border are treated to a Canadian version of fall foliage that can rival their cross-border New England counterparts. Two years ago, an astronaut on the International Space Station marveled at the oranges and yellows that filled the Ottawa-area landscape.

The East Coast may get a lot of hype when it comes to fall foliage, but the West Coast isn’t too bad either with its fall foliage. These 2018 photos show the brilliant reds, oranges, and even purple-adorned mountains of Utah’s Ogden Valley.

Further west in Alaska, winter and fall combine! Satellites spotted the mountains turning into fall colors amid icy scenes of snow-capped peaks and glaciers.

The Folded Mountains of central Pennsylvania had passed the peak of the sheets, but were still colorful when the (OLI) from the Landsat 8 satellite passed on November 9, 2020.
The Folded Mountains of central Pennsylvania had passed the peak of the sheets, but were still colorful when the (OLI) from the Landsat 8 satellite passed on November 9, 2020.
Weather Fox

The photo above was taken on September 20, 2010, and while it would be considered early in the Lower 48, it was the height of the season in Alaska.

With its extreme northern latitude, Alaska’s fall does not follow a traditional schedule. Summer is short in Denali, just June and July, and fall typically begins in August, according to Michon Scott of the Earth Observatory. Winter usually lasts from October to April.

Of course, fall happens all over the world, and displays of brilliant leaves aren’t just an American treat.

Imagine floating down a meandering river and enjoying the brilliant fall colors for the journey. The Amur River, the 10th longest in the world, meanders along the Russian-Chinese border, and its banks are a place of breathtaking beauty, where yellows and oranges line the water line.

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photo of peak fall colors around Ottawa on October 14, 2020
An astronaut aboard the International Space Station took this photo of peak fall colors around Ottawa on October 14, 2020

Weather Fox

Primorsky Krai in Russia…

…and even Siberia’s Arctic Pillar puts on a show of fall colors before the harsh winter sets in.

Why do the leaves change color in the fall?

The leaves of deciduous trees change color depending on the length of daylight, temperature and humidity.

Leaves get their green color from the pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is also responsible for capturing sunlight and turning it into sugar. But the leaves also have other colored pigments which are masked in summer by the dominant chlorophyll.

The operational terrestrial imager on Landsat 8 acquired these images on September 30, 2019.
The operational terrestrial imager on Landsat 8 acquired these images on September 30, 2019.
Weather Fox

As the days get shorter, the increasing lack of sunlight diminishes – and eventually shuts down chlorophyll production, allowing the oranges, yellows and reds of other pigments to shine through.

The best conditions for the most colorful displays are warm, sunny days followed by cool nights. However, freezing nights or long dry spells can shorten the fall leaf season.

New York Post

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button