NASA Reveals Breathtaking Look at Changing Autumn Leaves From Space

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Anadolu Agency / Contributor

During this point in the year, the changing autumn leaves are inevitable. While driving, you’ve likely seen an explosion of colors that signify the changing seasons. However, we bet you’ve never seen autumn leaves like this. Recently, NASA captured stunning pics of the changing leaves from space.

In fact, some areas of the Earth are so inundated with deciduous trees that wonderous displays of color cover hundreds of square miles and can be easily seen by satellites and astronauts.

Over the last few years, NASA’s Earth Observatory program has captured some of their favorite moments as seen from various satellites hovering thousands off Earth.

Their most recent image features beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows from New York’s Adirondacks. This area is one of the country’s best autumn leaf viewing areas.

According to Earth Observatory’s Kathryn Hansen, previous dry conditions from the summer muted the autumn colors in many parts of the United States. However, not in the Adirondacks, where LANDSAT satellites found a vibrant display of the leaves.

In addition, in Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountains, bright autumn colors could be spotted lining the area’s ridge tops.

Astronauts could find a similar scene playing out in Virginia’s Shenandoah Mountains.

In Canada, the autumn foliage was also thriving, rivaling leaves in New England. In 2020, an astronaut on the International Space Station gazed in awe at the oranges and yellows that filled the Ottawa landscape.

Astronauts see incredible fall scene play out from outer space

While the East Coast gets a ton of publicity regarding fall foliage, the West Coast shouldn’t be ignored for its fall foliage. Photos from 2018 show the vivid reds, oranges, and even purple leaves in the mountains of Utah’s Ogden Valley.

In Alaska, winter and fall combine as satellite pics show the mountains changing into autumn colors while you can see snow-capped peaks and glaciers.

In addition, Alaska’s autumn doesn’t follow a typical calendar compared to the lower 48. Summer in Denali consists of just two months in June and July. According to Michon Scott with Earth Observatory, the fall season usually starts in August. Winter usually lasts from October through April.

Moreover, autumn isn’t just confined to America. Brilliant displays of the changing colors can be seen all across the world.

For instance, the Amur River, the world’s 10th-longest river system, snakes along the Russian-Chinese border. Its banks are a place of stunning beauty, where bright yellows and oranges reveal themselves at the water line.

Leaves on deciduous trees change colors due to the length of daylight, temperature, and moisture. Their green pigment comes from the natural chemical called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll also captures sunlight and turns it into sugar. As the days grow shorter, the increasing lack of sunlight reduces and stops the creation of chlorophyll, allowing the oranges, yellows and reds to reveal themselves.