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5 breathtaking photos of mysterious "auroral beads"

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Ribbons of dazzling greens, purples, and blues that light up the night sky at Earth’s poles have captivated humans for centuries.

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Before we understood what caused the aurora borealis (or aurora australis in the Southern Hemisphere) indigenous peoples believed them to be spirits of departed loved ones (or future children), or of animals they hunted, or omens of good fortune.