northern lights in north america: earliest recorded sightings {on paper}, etc …

Art inspired by the first observation of northern lights in North America {New England}, 1718-19; ‘Aurora Borealis’ painting by FE Church, 1865, via Smithsonian American Art Museum

Very unusual early copper plate astronomy engraving of Aurore Boreale, Aurora Borealis the Northern Lights, dating from around 1760. The text is in French and appears to refer to an event in 1721. A rare engraving.

via the Maritime Gallery, UK

A. Angot, Les Aurores Polaires; Captain H. P. Dawson, Observations of the International Polar Expeditions, 1882-3, Fort Rae

‘… and in far northern latitudes serves to illuminate the earth and cheer the gloom of the long winter nights … the aurora borealis is said to be frequently accompanied by sound, which is variously described as resembling the rustling of pieces of silk against each other, or the sound of wind against the flame of a candle.’

via Project Gutenberg’s The New Gresham Encyclopedia

John Rand Capron (1829-1888)
Aurorae: Their Characters and Spectra

Early voyagers to the polar regions often saw the northern lights, a remarkable luminous display that some considered to be mists emanating from the earth. Capron was one of the first scientists to discuss the chemical and physical nature of the phenomenon. By the 1950s, it was accepted that the northern lights are caused by the interaction of high-energy electrons from the Sun with atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Thirty Plates Illustrative of Natural Phenomena, etc, 1846

This work contains beautiful color illustrations of various natural phenomena, including icebergs, waterspouts, and glaciers.

Both books via ‘Voyages, A Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition’

Interesting reading about the stunning colours of the aurora, why the aurora ‘dance’ {eg ‘merry dancers’ in Shetland}, & folklore

Fascinating compendium about the historical record of ancient chroniclers, history of auroral science, cultural impact, folkloric names, such as ‘foxfire’ in Finland, ‘tricky lady’ in Norway, current science, photography, the arts & etc … via Aurorae

Last but not least … how to record the sounds of the aurora …!