Aurora Borealis and icebergs, Arctic, 1849.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. The name given to this phenomenon signifies Northern Daybreak, and is very appropriate, because the Aurora usually appears in the north and gives a light not unlike that of the dawn of day. The cause of the Aurora has never been satisfactorily explained, although it is generally attributed to electricity which, in its pasage from the north pole to the equator, is supposed to become visible in this form. The expedition of 1848-1849, involving the ships 'Investigator' and 'Enterprise' was led by James Clark Ros, one of a series to depart in search of Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), who had disappeared in 1847 whilst in search of the Northwest Pasage.