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aurora borealis

Who else could make the colors of the aurora borealis rise off my skin where he strokes my forearm?
Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Poisonwood Bible
  also known as the northern lights; the luminous, radiant emission from the upper atmosphere seen on clear winter nights — usually above the north magnetic pole
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Strongly Associated with:   aurora, aurora australis
The aurora borealis most often occurs from September to October and from March to April.

Its southern counterpart, aurora australis, has similar properties. Australis is the Latin word for "of the South".
Auroras are now known to be caused by the collision of charged particles (ions (+) (-) ) found in the magnetosphere, with atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km). These particles travel into space with speeds of 300 to 1200 kilometers per second. A cloud of these particles is called plasma, and a stream of plasma coming from the sun is called solar wind. These charged particles are typically energized to levels between 1 and 15 keV and, as they collide with atoms of gases in the atmosphere, the atoms become excited. Shortly afterwards, the atoms emit their gained energy as light (see Fluorescence).  (retrieved 6/08)
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  • Who else could make the colors of the aurora borealis rise off my skin where he strokes my forearm?
    Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Poisonwood Bible
  • High above, ribbons of colored light—the aurora borealis—pulsed along the ceiling.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Lost Hero
  • Crac, and behold an aurora borealis, behold a revolution, behold a great man; ’93 in big letters, Napoleon on guard, the comet of 1811 at the head of the poster.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Near midnight the sea suddenly resumed its usual hue, but behind us all the way to the horizon, the skies kept mirroring the whiteness of those waves and for a good while seemed imbued with the hazy glow of an aurora borealis.
    Jules Verne  --  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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  • With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence.
    Jack London  --  The Call of the Wild
  • He saw the aurora borealis, meteor showers over tumbling black waves, night skies so clear the stars seemed within reach, hung from a ceiling by fishing wire.
    Dave Eggers  --  Zeitoun
  • The mammoth grand-stand was clothed in flags, streamers, and rich tapestries, and packed with several acres of small-fry tributary kings, their suites, and the British aristocracy; with our own royal gang in the chief place, and each and every individual a flashing prism of gaudy silks and velvets—well, I never saw anything to begin with it but a fight between an Upper Mississippi sunset and the aurora borealis.
    Mark Twain  --  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
  • Babbitt sighed, "I don’t know how it strikes you hellions, but personally I like this busting loose for a change, and kicking over a couple of mountains and climbing up on the North Pole and waving the aurora borealis around."
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Babbitt
  • …they rolled out a sheet of honest-to-God ice on the floor and a bevy of "Nordic Nymphs" in silver gee-strings and silver brassieres came skating out on real skates to whirl and fandango and cavort and sway to the music under the housebroke aurora borealis with the skates flashing and the white knees flashing and white arms serpentining in the blue light, and the little twin, hard-soft columns of muscle and flesh up the backbones of the bare backs swaying and working in a beautiful…
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King’s Men
  • That night the sky shimmered green and blue and red with aurora borealis.
    Nicholas Evans  --  The Horse Whisperer

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  • I’ve heard about the aurora borealis, and I’ve often wondered whether it looked like this.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  True Believer
  • Downtown is before them, as high and bright as the aurora borealis rising from the black water of the Bering Sea.
    Neal Stephenson  --  Snow Crash
  • If like the curtains of the aurora borealis the walls of rooms would give even the illusion of lifting-if they would threaten to go up.
    Eudora Welty  --  The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • If like the curtains of the aurora borealis the walls of rooms would give even the illusion of lifting—if they would threaten to go up.
    Eudora Welty  --  The Golden Apples
  • In Louisville, it’s said that if the bourbon is blended just right, a man can see the aurora borealis without leaving his front porch.
    W. William Winokur  --  The Perfect Game
  • The illuminating power in this subterranean region, from its trembling and Rickering character, its clear dry whiteness, the very slight elevation of its temperature, its great superiority to that of the moon, was evidently electric; something in the nature of the aurora borealis, only that its phenomena were constant, and able to light up the whole of the ocean cavern.
    Jules Verne  --  A Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • I tell ye that when they got here they’d be jommlin’ and jostlin’ one another that way that it ’ud be like a fight up on the ice in the old days, when we’d be at one another from daylight to dark, an’ tryin’ to tie up our cuts by the aurora borealis."
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • (He stands at Cormack’s corner, watching) BLOOM: Aurora borealis or a steel foundry?
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • And the Aurora Borealis was out.
    John Steinbeck  --  Travels with Charley
  • Places I will go one day
    Victoria Falls in Africa
    Alaska to see the northern lights
    Norway to see Aurora Borealis
    Galapagos Islands
    Jaycee Lee Dugard  --  A Stolen Life
  • Out the windows, night had fallen, and the only light came from the aurora borealis overhead, washing everything in red and blue.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Lost Hero
  • Over the levee wall now, like an aurora borealis, the sky of New Orleans, across the river, was flickering gently.
    Eudora Welty  --  The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • (The aurora borealis of the torchlight procession leaps.
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
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Associated words [difficulty]:   aurora borealis [7] , aurora [4] , aura [1] , aurora [4]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Classic Literature, Nature & Ecology, Science
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