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September-October 2014

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Auroral Omens of the American Civil War

Aurorae are a splendid night-time sight: coruscations of green, purple, and red fluorescent light in the form of gently wafting ribbons, billowing curtains, and flashing rays. Mostly seen at high latitudes, in the north aurorae are often called the northern lights or aurora borealis, and, in the south, the southern lights or aurora australis. The mystery of their cause has historically been the subject of wonder.

JEFFREY J. LOVE has a Ph.D. in geophysics from Harvard University. Since 2001, Dr. Love has worked for the Geomagnetism Program of the U.S. Geological Survey, where he is the USGS Advisor for Geomagnetic Research. He would like to thank J. W. Dewey, C. A. Finn, G. A. Good, E. J. Rigler, and J. L. Slate for reviewing a draft manuscript, and D. M. Perkins for useful conversations.

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