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Mystery sky glow 'Steve' is unknown to science


Posted on Wednesday, 22 August, 2018 | Comment icon 9 comments

What is 'Steve' exactly ? Image Credit: NASA
A peculiar strip of glowing light spotted in the sky over Canada has left scientists scratching their heads.
Stretching from east to west, the peculiarly named 'Steve' was first picked up by members of Alberta Aurora Chasers, a Facebook group frequented by people looking to share information about the best places to photograph the Northern Lights.

Reaching temperatures of up to 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit ( the same as the Earth's core ), this peculiar phenomenon is 16 miles wide and thousands of miles long.

Now following an extensive new study in to the nature and origins of 'Steve', researchers have come to the conclusion that the phenomenon is 'completely unknown' to science.

"Our main conclusion is that 'Steve' is not an aurora," said physicist Bea Gallardo-Lacourt from the University of Calgary. "So right now, we know very little about it. And that's the cool thing."

Until more is known about the phenomenon, scientists have decided to keep the name 'Steve' but have changed it to the acronym 'Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement'.


Source: Live Science | Comments (9)

Tags: Steve, Aurora

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seanjo on 22 August, 2018, 18:59
They say it's not an Aurora, but surely it is linked to Solar winds and the Earths Magnetic field.
Comment icon #2 Posted by glorybebe on 22 August, 2018, 19:12
I love how they figured out the scientific name to fit in with STEVE.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 22 August, 2018, 20:29
It's beautiful and funky-looking at the same time.
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin on 22 August, 2018, 21:37
Stunning. Can only imagine what "pre-technology" man must have thought seeing such a site.
Comment icon #5 Posted by taniwha on 23 August, 2018, 9:26
Stunning. I guess auroras evolve like everything else. What will they look like 10,000 years from now?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 23 August, 2018, 9:44
The same as they looked today and the same as they looked 10,000 years ago. The processes that form them remain the same over such short time periods.
Comment icon #7 Posted by taniwha on 23 August, 2018, 10:03
A lot can happen in 10,000 years so I guess time will reveal all
Comment icon #8 Posted by taniwha on 23 August, 2018, 22:45
Just an afterthought how long has this phenomenon STEVE been around anyway? Is there any way to date how ancient or modern it is? Or isn't?
Comment icon #9 Posted by L.A.T.1961 on 24 August, 2018, 20:16
STEVE is a purple ribbon of light that amateur astronomers in Canada have been photographing for decades, belatedly catching the attention of the scientific community in 2016. It doesn't look exactly like an aurora, but it often appears alongside auroras during geomagnetic storms. Is it an aurora -- or not? That's what Gallardo-Lacourt's team wanted to find out. Auroras appear when energetic particles from space rain down on Earth's atmosphere during geomagnetic storms. If STEVE is an aurora, they reasoned, it should form in much the same way. On March 28, 2008, STEVE appeared over eastern Can... [More]


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