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What do fall colors look like from space?


As you walk, hike or drive under the canopy of this fall’s trees, look up and enjoy a panoply of brilliant colors. Let them dazzle your senses against deep blue skies or seemingly endless miles of fall color majesty.

 

But there are other perspectives to enjoy as well. Imagine what they might look like from above… above the treetops, above a bird’s eye perspective, above white puffy clouds. NASA has graciously provided us with an opportunity to actually see some of those views from space, courtesy of satellite images taken over the years. View this array of images and leave our earthly bounds for an armchair ride for an out-of-this-world experience. No matter how you look at it, fall leaf peeping involves a stellar experience.

 

Fall colors sweep across the Mid-Atlantic – Oct. 22, 2012

A photo from space of the mid-atlantic region showing fall colors.

acquired October 22, 2012 Photo credit: NASA Earth
Observatory

With temperatures dropping in the northern hemisphere, fall colors have swept across the Mid-Atlantic. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on Oct. 22, 2012. The brownish-red areas in the Appalachians are hardwood forests dominated by oaks; the yellower shades in the Delmarva Peninsula are evidence of corn or soybean crops, not fall foliage. Read More













Fall colors change in northern Allegheny Mountains –Oct. 16, 2010

Fall burst upon the northern Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania in mid-October 2010. Within a span of just five days, the forests went from green, with a slight hint of fall color, to vivid orange .

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured the fall transformation in this pair of images. Read More

A picture of the Allegheny Mountains from space

acquired October 8, 2010 Photo credit: NASA Earth
Observatory

A picture of the Allegheny Mountains from space

acquired October 13, 2010 Photo credit: NASA Earth
Observatory


Snowy Peaks and fall colors mix in Alaska - Sept. 30, 2010

A photo from space showing fall colors and snowy peaks in Alaska.

acquired September 20, 2010. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

Rivers of water and ice flow across the landscape north of Anchorage, Alaska, where summer is fleeting and fall arrives early. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this mostly cloudless, natural-color image view of the region on Sept., 20, 2010.

 

Snowy peaks of the Alaska Range—Mount McKinley, among them—form an arc through the middle of the image. Though not as tall as Mount Everest when measured from sea level, McKinley has the greatest elevation between its base and summit, and it is the tallest mountain in North America.

 

To the south lie the Wrangell Mountains, including Mount Blackburn, and the Chugach Mountains, including Mount Witherspoon. All of the ranges are topped with networks of glaciers, some of them terminating in lakes. Glacial flour—fine particles of rock ground off nearby slopes—lends the lakes a blue-green color. West of Witherspoon and south of McKinley, a cloud bank pushes northward, nearly indistinguishable from the snow. The low-lying clouds fill valleys, roughly mimicking the shapes and colors of glaciers. Read More

 

Late fall visits the Adirondack and Green Mountains – Nov. 14, 2009

A photo from space showing fall colors and snowy peaks in the Adirondack Mountains.

acquired November 8, 2009. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

By November, the flame of red and orange that painted the forested mountains of the northeastern United States in the autumn has faded into subdued shades of orange and brown. The fall leaf season is coming to an end. This true-color image of the Adirondack and Green Mountains was captured on Nov., 8, 2009, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The mountains are brown, the farmed valleys, gold. The differences in color help reveal the unique geography of the region. Read More











Fall colors paint landscape in Pennsylvania – Dec. 3, 2008

A photo from space showing fall colors in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

acquired October 21, 2001. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

Resembling a work of art, this Landsat image shows fall colors in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. Central Pennsylvania presents an ancient landscape, worn down by the grind of ice, water, wind, and time. The ridge lines of the Appalachian Mountain chain, once formidable, are now gentle folds rising over fertile valleys. Ice age glaciers shaped the land, smoothing out the mountains and depositing rich soil as the ice melted away. Read More












Fall color on display in the U.S. Northeast- Oct. 18, 2008

A photo from space showing fall colors in the North Eastern part of the US.

acquired October 12, 2008. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

Fall was beginning to color the East Coast of the United States when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on Oct., 12, 2008. Orange touches trees in the north and at higher elevations, where temperatures are cooler. Lower elevations are still green. The fall color follows the sweep of the Appalachian Mountains through Pennsylvania, New York, and into New England. Read More












Fall colors visible across Alaska – Sept. 30, 2008

A photo from space showing fall colors in Alaska.

acquired August 23, 2008. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

The colors are those of a landscape captured between summer and fall. The northern slopes of the Brooks Range Mountains and the Arctic Coastal Plain are not yet dusted with snow, but the vegetation has the burnished look of autumn. The gray, bare rock of the mountain is exposed at high altitudes, while valleys and lower slopes are lined with green. On August 23, 2008, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this beautiful cloud-free view of a large part of Alaska. (The coastal plain was noticeably greener in an image from earlier in the summer.) Read More























Fall color pictured around Lake Superior – Sept. 29, 2007

A photo from space showing fall colors in in Northern Michigan and Southern Ontario.

acquired September 23, 2007. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

The calendar may have set September 23 as the first day of autumn in 2007, but the forests that line the eastern shore of Lake Superior had already started to mark the turning of the season. By September 23, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this photo-like image, the forests of northern Michigan and southern Ontario flamed orange as the first trees of the season—maples—began to display their brilliant red and orange fall colors. Veins of green run through the sea of orange where the deciduous forest gives way to deep green pine trees. Read More
















Fall colors change in the Mid-Atlantic – Nov. 3, 2006

The colors may not look as brilliant as the reds and golds you would see on the ground, but even from space, the difference between the summer and fall attire of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic is dramatic. The reflection of green wavelengths of sunlight from chlorophyll in plant and trees leaves dominates the color-scape on July 17, 2006. Forested slopes of the Appalachian Mountains are deeper green than interwoven valleys, which are often occupied by farms and pastures, especially in western Virginia and Pennsylvania.

 

By Oct., 30, 2006, fall’s cooler temperatures and diminishing daylight have burnished the higher elevations, including almost all of West Virginia, the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, and the Allegheny Range in south-central Pennsylvania. Agriculture-dominated lands, such as western Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, are still green. Read More

A picture of a difference between the summer and fall attire of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic is dramatic

acquired July 17, 2006. Photo credit: NASA Earth
Observatory

A picture of difference between the summer and fall attire of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic is dramatic

acquired October 30, 2006. Photo credit: NASA Earth
Observatory


Fall colors displayed in Portland, Maine – Dec. 1, 2003

A photo from space showing fall foliage of Baxter Woods Park in Portland, Maine, shows the reds and browns of a mix of trees, including maple, old-growth white oaks, and hemlock.

acquired October 20, 2003. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

The ISS-7 crew of the International Space Station enjoyed a bird's-eye view of New England's fall colors on a fine October morning in 2003. The fall foliage of Baxter Woods Park in Portland, Maine, shows the reds and browns of a mix of trees, including maple, old-growth white oaks, and hemlock. Nearby Evergreen Cemetery is highlighted by the brilliant red and yellow leaves of maple trees. Read More













New England’s march of fall colors – Nov. 28, 2002

Autumn’s southward march across the forests of the eastern U.S. proved difficult to document by satellite this year. Storms, persistent cloudiness, and poor air quality made getting a peek at the developing fall colors challenging. These true-color images (and animations) show some of the Terra satellite’s best views of the season’s progression, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).

 

In mid-September, when the series begins, the only hint of change to come is a drabness of the normally deep green color that stretches from Nova Scotia, Canada, (top right) down through New England and past Lake Ontario (left), and into Pennsylvania (bottom left). By early October, a hint of color had moved southwestward from southeastern Canada into Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. By early-November, a snow storm had covered these areas, while snow-free areas far to the south had turned a deep, rich brown. At the bottom left of the final image, a few swaths of pale green can still be seen in the low-lying areas between the Appalachians and the Atlantic Coast. Read More

A picture of New England from space in september

acquired September 10, 2002. Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory

A picture of New England from space in october

acquired October 6, 2002. Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory

A picture of New England from space in november

acquired November 7, 2002. Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory


New England shows turning autumn colors – Oct. 30, 2001

During the fall, the leaves of deciduous trees change color and then fall off in preparation for the winter season. In early autumn, when the season's first cold temperatures arrive, the forest canopy throughout the New England region transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors--rich hues of yellows, reds, oranges and browns.

 

These two images were collected by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying aboard NASA's Terra satellite. The top image shows the region of North America spanning from the Canadian provinces of Quebec (upper left) and New Brunswick (upper right) down through the states of Maine, New Hampsire, Vermont, and Massachusetts (bottom). MODIS acquired the top image on Oct., 9, 2001, after the autumn change in foliage began. The bottom image was acquired Sept., 12, 2001, just before the trees began to change color. Read More

A picture of New England from space in september

acquired September 12, 2001. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

A picture of New England from space in october

acquired October 9, 2001. Photo credit: NASA
Earth Observatory

 

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Last modified September 06, 2013
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