In 1621, a French scientist, Pierre Gassendi, saw the lights in the north and named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora. He added the word "borealis" for the Roman god of the north wind, Boreas.
In the southern hemisphere, they are called aurora australis, meaning "southern." The lights are usually seen after dusk near both poles.
Although they look elegant and calm, aurorae are produced from millions of explosions of magnetic energy.
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