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If one is so lucky as to see the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) or its southern equivalent, does one say a b'racha? If so which one? I've heard that oseh ma'aseh v'reishit applies to comets and shooting stars; would the same b'racha apply to an aurora too?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Aish pathways says

the blessing Oseh Ma’aseh Veraishit is said upon seeing spectacular mountains, deserts, lightning, earthquakes, hurricanes, astronomical phenomena, and impressive bodies of water.

The Wikipedia entry for Aurora is titled “Aurora (astronomy)”.

Thus the bracha Oseh Ma’aseh Veraishit seems right. But CYLOR.

Edit: In the light of the comment from @Double AA, I would suggest a slight modification to the Aish pathways text as follows:

astronomical phenomena which are impressive to the viewer (compare making the blessing only on “mountains and hills in which the greatness of the Creator is evident” of O Ch 228 (3) and Piskei Teshuvos 228 (4) who writes that the condition “in which the greatness of the Creator is evident” will depend on the degree to which the viewer is impressed.)

CYLOR about a really impressive sunrise or sunset!

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Seeing a sunset is an astronomical phenomenon too – Double AA Nov 24 '13 at 13:42
Problem is, mountains is the only case in the Shulchan Aruch where the "evidence of the greatness of the Creator" is mentioned. Every other case doesn't mention it. Extending that level of subjectivity to other natural phenomenon is not a simple jump. – Double AA Nov 24 '13 at 21:54
Rabbeinu Bachya by Vayhi binsoa ha'aron actualy writes the opposite of that pischei tshuva. He says the bracha was established to reafirm our faith in creation when witnessing something that leads one to believe that the world is ancient and always was in existence. – user6591 Jun 23 at 23:27
To add to @user6591 (who points out that AB, as a temporal phenomena, wouldn't fit the rubric of the bracha), one could very well dispute this - the Aurora Borealis are earth based (even if it's a reaction to solar particles). Otherwise, EVERYTHING ON EARTH IS ASTROLOGICAL (we wouldn't exist without the sun). Therefore, AB wouldn't seem to be astrological from the perspective of halacha any more than a rainbow would be. Wikipedia isn't the arbiter of halachic classification. – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 24 at 12:05
@IsaacKotlicky At Wikipedia Astrology From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Not to be confused with Astronomy, the scientific study of celestial objects. Astrology consists of several pseudoscientific systems of divination based on the premise that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 24 at 15:52

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