This question relates to the exact meaning of "optical". I would normally say that optics refer to phenomena caused by the behavior of light through different media, like reflection, refraction, diffusion, and so on.
However, I recently read about auroras being referred to as an optical phenomenon. I thought that strange, since auroras arise due the interaction of cosmic particles and air, simply emitting light at the right places, and is pretty much entirely unrelated to any breaking of the light.
But I couldn't really protest since I'm not sure that my naïve understanding of "optics" is correct. What say you?