au·​ro·​ra ə-ˈrȯr-ə How to pronounce aurora (audio)
plural auroras or aurorae ə-ˈrȯr-(ˌ)ē How to pronounce aurora (audio)
: dawn
capitalized : the Roman goddess of dawn compare eos
: a luminous phenomenon that consists of streamers or arches of light appearing in the upper atmosphere of a planet's magnetic polar regions and is caused by the emission of light from atoms excited by electrons accelerated along the planet's magnetic field lines
auroral adjective
aurorean adjective

Examples of aurora in a Sentence

a gorgeous pink aurora aroused us out of our slumber
Recent Examples on the Web With the aurora season running from fall to spring here, the most strategic times tend to be March, April, September, and October, Expedia said. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 6 Feb. 2024 Ferocious solar storms may have helped life take root on Earth, NASA says Why auroras, solar storms may occur more frequently More frequent aurora displays are likely in the coming years, as the sun reaches the solar maximum stage of its magnetic field activity in 2025, Dahl said. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 22 Jan. 2024 On Earth, auroras are created when the sun’s solar wind of subatomic particles is swept up by our planet’s magnetic field. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 19 Jan. 2024 This activity should make the northern lights (also known as the aurora borealis) more visible farther south than usual—possibly as far south as the 40th parallel north, which cuts through the northern United States. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Jan. 2024 The benefit, however, to cruising later in the season is that darker winter nights make better conditions to spot the aurora borealis. Scott Laird, Condé Nast Traveler, 12 Oct. 2023 Scientists can forecast the likelihood of aurora borealis by examining solar winds, though the Geophysical Institute notes that predictions are often less reliable than typical weather forecasts. Ty Roush, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Although the auroras are best viewed in the night sky, they are caused by the sun. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 11 July 2023 Late February to early April is usually the best time to view auroras in Alaska. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 7 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aurora.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin — more at east

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of aurora was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near aurora

Cite this Entry

“Aurora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


au·​ro·​ra ə-ˈrōr-ə How to pronounce aurora (audio)
plural auroras or aurorae -ē How to pronounce aurora (audio)
auroral adjective

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Au·​ro·​ra ə-ˈrȯr-ə How to pronounce Aurora (audio)
city in north central Colorado east of Denver population 325,078
city west of Chicago in northeastern Illinois population 197,899
town north of Toronto in southeastern Ontario, Canada population 53,203

More from Merriam-Webster on aurora

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