The Roman Goddess of Dawn: Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights)– Painting the Skies of Autumn and Winter

The Roman Goddess of Dawn: Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights)-- Painting the Skies of Autumn and Winter

Keilianette DeJesus, Student journalist

As the cooler crisper–and clearer– weather of November and December approaches, it might be thrilling to observe the Northern skies from a higher vantage on some clear evening. There, you might see the spectacle of The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). 

The Romans believed “Aurora” to be the goddess of the dawn.

The word aurora borealis comes from the Greek, aurora meaning “sunrise,” and boreas meaning “winds.” It’s therefore understandable that the Greeks believed that Aurora was the sister of the Sun and Moon gods. It was her duty to race across the sky in a vibrant multi-coloured chariot, alerting her siblings that the new day was coming. (

Windsor High teacher, Kristine Melo, describes it as “The phenomenon of nature.”  The Northern Lights’ strange and colorful wavelike lights waltzing around the horizon are caused by the sun’s particles interacting with the earth’s magnetic field.  Irish meteorological site, Met eireann, notes that these interactions generally create colors that are affected by the types of gas particles in the atmosphere: “Oxygen molecules at approximately 100 km above the earth produce a greenish-yellow colour while, while a red aurora can be seen when high level oxygen molecules are involved. Blue or purple auroras indicate the presence of nitrogen molecules.”

Astronomer Otto Rudolf Martin Brendel was known to photograph the first Northern Lights also known as Aurora Borealis in 1892, in black and white imagery published in Century Magazine in October 1897.  

A particularly poignant Quora poster said of these mysterious lights: “If you are lucky, you are wrapped in the arms of someone you love. You both are just staring quietly into the dark as you enjoy the quiet and the stars above. There is a twinkling of light from distant stars. There is peace in the world and for just a little while, you forget about all your troubles.”

For our readers, it is quite difficult–but still possible–to view these lights, which may be discovered if you find yourself with a clear view of the Northern horizon in a place away from human lights, on a cold, crisp, and dry evening as you gaze north into the skies. 

One website that offers a more scientific approach to help you predict how and where you can see these Lights is SpaceWeatherLive

Check it out stargazers.    


Other trip-worthy places to find such a fascinating display are these places:

Tromsø, Norway: A top sport to view in Norway during early afternoon up until late morning.

Lapland, Finland: Arctic region of Northern Europe distinguishable 200 nights a year 

Yellowknife, Canada: Capital of Northwest territories of North America 

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland: Northern Lights seen 300 days a year best between September-April.

Fairbanks, Alaska: Beneath Auroral Oval, a “ ring-shaped zone above the Earth’s geomagnetic pole.