Some aspects of the history of auroral research



From the reports in Aristotle (Meteorologia), Seneca (Naturalium Quaestionum), and Pliny (Historia Naturalis), as well as those from the Far East [Keimatsu, 1974], we may assume that auroras were known phenomena even in earlier times. However, for these early centuries the number of dates verified up to now is small. No systematic studies were made for these manifestations in the sky, and they remained puzzles. Some early views on atmospheric optics and other problems of the atmosphere originated with Alhazen, i.e. Muhammad b. al-Hasan ibn al-Haitan (about 965–1039). There are some thoughts on the physics of the atmosphere in Albertus Magnus (about 1206–1280), but without specific reference to auroras. In the outgoing Middle Age, from the 11th to the 15th centuries, there are no regular observations of sky aspects.