Leaves fall, winter arrives

Melanie Roberts

As the months progress into the fall season, the leaves on the trees begin to change color.

It seems like these colors only appear during fall, but actually the leaves contain small amounts of each color all year round.

Three pigments make up each leaf: carotene, anthocyanin, and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the main pigment that is used in photosynthesis to take in sunlight and give leaves their green coloring.

According to Science Daily, there is a chemical called auxin that controls the abscission layer. This layer is a special band of cells at the base of each leaf stem. The auxin is what prevents this layer from developing during the Fall and Winter months.

When fall comes and the days shorten, leaves know to stop food production, because there is not enough sunlight or water to take in.

The leaves shut down, causing the chlorophyll to disappear and reveal the orange, red, and yellow colors underneath, that the green chlorophyll was covering up.

During winter, leaves survive off of the food they stored during the summer months.

With winter comes the changing solstice. The December solstice is set to occur this year on Dec. 22 at 5:30 a.m. It will mark the winter solstice for the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice for the southern hemisphere.

The date of the December solstice varies between Dec. 20 to Dec. 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar.

According to http://www.timeanddate.com, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north will be in darkness on this date, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.

This day also marks the shortest day of the year, or the day with the least amount of light for the northern hemisphere. 

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