Science: Northern Lights

Man's explanations of the aurora borealis over the centuries have been as colorful as the spectacle itself. When great luminous curtains seemed to swish and crackle in the sky, Norsemen knew that Valkyries were riding abroad. Midwestern Indians looked up and thought they saw the fires of northern medicine men making stew of their enemies. Today's Eskimos watch the polar pyrotechnics and mumble about the spirits of the dead. Modern science has still another theory.

Millions of miles away in space, says Harvard's Astronomer Donald H. Menzel, the sun revolves like a tremendous lawn...

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