There is so much to love about the outdoors when summer turns into fall. Sweater weather, fall activities, crisp mornings where you can see your breath, the feeling of warm hot chocolate in your chest, and the promise of a slower pace to our days (at least before the holidays hit). For many people, it also marks a spectacular nature show when the leaves change from green to bright reds, yellows, and oranges before falling to the ground. It’s a beautiful sight, and, unfortunately, not everyone can experience the peak views offered in leaf-peeping destinations like Vermont, upstate New York, or Maine. But if you weren’t able to go to peak fall foliage spots this season, that has changed, thanks to NASA!
NASA released new images that show how impressive the fall foliage is even when it’s looked at from outer space. The agency’s Landsat 9 satellite took photos from above Earth, including images of the Adirondack Mountains in northeast New York.
“Leaves in the Adirondacks were at peak or near-peak color for the season when the Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on Landsat 9 acquired these images on October 8, 2022,” NASA explains.
And the photos released are really impressive. They’re full of shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown, with a few pops of green leftover thanks to the mix of trees spanning the 6 million acres at Adirondack Park.
“Deciduous trees with especially vivid hues include sugar and red maples, and quaking and bigtooth aspens,” NASA explains. “Eastern larches also put on a showy display, but on this conifer, it is the needles, not leaves, that turn brilliant golden yellow in autumn.”
If you’re still hoping to see some fall foliage this year, there’s still time. NASA explains that fall colors reach its peak when the “air temperatures drop and shortened daylight triggers plants to slow and stop the production of chlorophyll.” The molecules in plants synthesize food, and when the chlorophyll drops, the colors pop.
According to the 2022 Fall Foliage Prediction Map, most of the country has already had the trees begin to change colors, with a few northern states already “past peak.”
However, a few of the southern states, including Florida, and Louisiana, have yet to see the foliage change colors. For Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, the color transformation is about halfway complete, so while Vermont’s glory days may be over, there still may be time to do some Leaf Peeping down south.
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