Aurora borealis

Definition of Aurora borealis

A luminous meteoric phenomenon, visible only at night, and supposed to be of electrical origin. This species of light usually appears in streams, ascending toward the zenith from a dusky line or bank, a few degrees above the northern horizon; when reaching south beyond the zenith, it forms what is called the corona, about a spot in the heavens toward which the dipping needle points. Occasionally the aurora appears as an arch of light across the heavens from east to west. Sometimes it assumes a wavy appearance, and the streams of light are then called merry dancers. They assume a variety of colors, from a pale red or yellow to a deep red or blood color.

See also: Aurora

Related Words

aurora, northern lights
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