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“The aurora borealis is a fickle phenomenon. A week can pass without a flicker … then bang! The Northern Lights come on like a celestial lava lamp.” ―Nigel Tisdall

The sun breaks solar wind, roiling the magnetosphere, sometimes over-charging charged particles, electrons.

Aurora had but newly chased the night, And purpled o’er the sky with blushing light.

John Dryden, Palamon and Arcite

As the over-charged electrons discharge, emitted photons illuminate magnetic poetry.

O’er all the widespread northern skies / How glows and waves that heavenly light / Where dome, and arch, and column rise / Magnificently bright! 

Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, The Aurora Borealis

Science explains the solar wind and related electromagnetic phenomena. Poetry turns it to light

O blest one hour like this! to rise / And see grief’s shadows backward roll / While bursts on unaccustomed eyes / The glad Aurora of the soul

Dina Craik, An Aurora Borealis



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