The Northern Lights in Mythology, History and Science

Harald Falck Ytter; Photography by Torbjorn Lövgren

Out of print

Quick Look

Reveals the mythology surrounding the aurora in different northern cultures, as well as the science behind the phenomenon.

240 x 190 mm
Floris Books
Philosophy of the Natural World
32 colour photographs
144 pages
Publication date:
01 May 1999


The colourful light phenomenon of the aurora borealis appears in the sparsely populated polar regions during the long winter's nights. Little is know about this ethereal occurrence, which gives dazzling displays of ghostly light and movement. The author reveals the mythology surrounding the aurora in different northern cultures, as well as the science behind the phenomenon.

He discusses responses to the aurora, ranging from Aristotle to modern geophysicists, together with evidence from various cultures and traditions, thus charting the gradual understanding through history of this awe-inspiring experience. Demonstrating the influence of the sun in the creation of the aurora, Falck-Ytter compares the northern lights with other light phenomena such as lightning and rainbows.

Beautifully illustrated, this book gives a comprehensive account of a mysterious dynamic which has fascinated and alarmed communities throughout the ages.


'No colour and no brush is able to paint it; no words can describe it in all its grandeur.'
-- Karl Weyprecht

'The appeal is to the imagination by the suggestion of something wholly spiritual, something instinct with a fluttering of ethereal life, serenely confident, yet restlessly mobile.'
-- Robert F. Scott

'A lavishly-illustrated volume on everything you ever wanted to know about the jaw-dropping phenomenon we call The Northern Lights. This is an absorbing and informative read that you don't need a science degree to understand.'
-- Highland News, February 2003

'Well illustrated by diagrams and fabulous photographs. This book and the subject will enchant and inspire you.'
-- Baelder Pan-European Fraternity of Knowledge Journal

'A beautiful and fascinating book about the mythology, history and science of the Northern Lights, with stunning photos. Provides all the basic information in a highly accessible form.'
-- Scientific and Medical Network Review


Harald Falck-Ytter (1927-2006) was born in the United States to Norwegian parents. He grew up in Canada, Germany and Norway. worked in Norway and Germany, as a lecturer, musician, and minister. He dedicated many years to studying the different aspects of the aurora.

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