Changing of the seasons captured in dramatic satellite photos depicting fall foliage from outer space



By ANDREW TAVANI

Signs of the changing seasons are everywhere right now: the ever decreasing daylight; the preemptive Christmas commercials on TV; and, of course, the most ubiquitous and pleasant sign of autumn's splendor -- the vibrant colors of the leaves as they fall from the trees.

Most people witness the leaves as they gaze out upon the backyard through a window, or as they watch the passing trees on the side of the road during a daytime drive in the car. They are earthly perspectives, to be sure.

But scientists at NASA are providing a much different perspective on the fall colors -- one from outer space.

Earlier this week, NASA released two true color satellite images of the Mid-Atlantic section of the United States and southern Canada. The first image was captured on September 27, 2014 by the space agency's Suomi NPP satellite.

The landscape in the image, seen just five days into fall, is mostly a deep green, the remnants of summer still holding strong. Signs of autumn were beginning to emerge, with a trace of reddish brown taking hold in upstate New York, just to the east of Lake Ontario.

Five weeks later, the same piece of geography photographed from the same satellite looks dramatically different. Gone is the deep summer green. It's been replaced by browns and sweeping scarlet reds.

According to NOAA, the diagonal bands seen running through the center of the photos is caused by the changing foliage on the trees in the Appalachian Mountains.

The U.S. Forest service reports that much of the trees in the mainland are now past their peak colors, especially in the areas north of Pennsylvania that are depicted in these two photos.

Click through the slide show above. Anyone who's missed the peak color in their region will find it useful.

It features several more satellite photos that were taken since summer turned to autumn this year. And following that are some beautiful images of the fall foliage from New Hampshire down to West Virginia that news photographers managed to capture.

And to see an animated GIF of summer turning into autumn this year, The Huffington Post put together a captivating one using NASA satellite imagery.

According to the Forestry Service, the primary factors that cause leaves to change colors are dropping temperatures and decreased sunlight, and the vibrancy of colors depend on a number of seasonal and weather variables.

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