What We See in the Aurora

Joseph A. Shaw

The aurora is a particularly spectacular optical phenomenon because of its great variety: the aurora's color, shape, and motion change, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, before the viewer's eye. On some long, quiet Arctic nights, the aurora takes the form of a dim green glow on the horizon; on other nights, the colors of the aurora swirl and dance overhead like a grand ballet. Even people who have lived long under the aurora's splendor pause on such nights to stare skyward.

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