Fall colors in Midwest spotted from space as autumn arrives

The changing leaves as autumn arrives were able to be seen in spectacular photos from space in portions of the Midwest.

The Autumn Equinox came on Sept. 22, marking the first official day of fall.

A period of chilly weather near the end of September allows vibrant colors to be picked up on the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite the on NOAA-20 satellite.

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The image from Sept. 22 shows leaves changing in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Leaves can be seen changing in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan on Sept. 22, 2020.

Leaves can be seen changing in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan on Sept. 22, 2020. (NASA/NOAA-20)

Areas around Lake Superior could be seen with pops of color.

The most vibrant colors were seen in areas surrounding Lake Superior.

The most vibrant colors were seen in areas surrounding Lake Superior. (NASA/NOAA-20)

The region is rich with aspen, birch, maple, basswood, and other deciduous hardwood trees, according to NASA.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Duluth, Minn. said Sunday that colors are near peak across much of the region.

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According to the U.S. Forest Service, certain species of trees produce certain colors.

Oaks generally turn red, brown, or russet; aspen and yellow-poplar turn golden.

Maples differ by species, as red maple turns brilliant scarlet; sugar maple, orange-red; and black maple, yellow.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, certain species of trees produce certain colors.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, certain species of trees produce certain colors. (iStock)

“Some leaves of some species, such as the elms simply shrivel up and fall, exhibiting little color other than drab brown,” the agency notes.

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There are also three factors that influence autumn leaf color: leaf pigments, length of night, and weather.

There are three factors that influence autumn leaf color: leaf pigments, length of night, and weather. 

There are three factors that influence autumn leaf color: leaf pigments, length of night, and weather.  (iStock)

“The timing of color changes and the onset of falling leaves is primarily regulated by the calendar as nights become longer,” the Forest Service notes. “None of the other environmental influences – such as temperature, rainfall, food supply – are as unvarying as the steadily increasing length of night during autumn.”

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