The changes that occur in fall are not due to the Earth’s distance from the sun. They are caused by how the Earth is tilted, in relation to the sun.
When a hemisphere of the Earth tilts toward the sun, it gets warmer – autumn occurs as a hemisphere turns away from the sun.
The vivid shades of red, yellow, orange and everything in between that you can see in the fall haven’t just recently appeared. They are the colours of all the other pigments always present in leaves – minus the chlorophyll.
A combination of less daylight and cooler temperatures in the fall cause the chlorophyll in leaves to break down – which reveals the other pigment in the leaves.
What’s in a name?
In England, fall was originally called harvest,” before the 1300s, and eventually autumn. It’s original name described the gathering of crops that went on at this time of year.
The name “fall” became popular after the poetic use of “the fall of the leaves” was used to describe the – it eventually was shortened to just “fall.”
That particular term eventually became popular in the British North American colonies, by the mid-1800s.
Contrary to popular belief – or maybe not, if you were always skeptical – the perennially popular cornucopia of pumpkin spice flavoured food that gets trotted out in fall doesn’t actually have much real pumpkin in it.
The actual flavour is a combination of ingredients derived from cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger and cloves – and occasionally chemicals found in pumpkins.