Strange ribbons of purple light that appeared within the sky referred to as Steve became the topic of debate in 2017, as their origins had been unbeknown to scientists. Now, images of this outstanding phenomena have been studied to grasp their precise place within the night time sky.
Steve was first noticed by citizen scientists who posted pictures of the unusual purple streaks of light within the Aurora Chasers Facebook group. Typically, Steve was seen accompanied by smudges of green traces—nicknamed ‘picket fences’ owing to their appearance.
Not sure of what it was and the best way to seek advice from it, the name ‘Steve’ was chosen from a scene from the animated movie Over the Hedge, the place characters select a name for something unknown to them.
Scientists had been capable of compare ground sightings with knowledge from ESA’s Swarm mission, which confirmed that Steve really contains a fast-moving stream of extremely hot atomic particles. Since that time, scientists have been making an attempt to understand the science behind the phenomenon.
A recent paper, printed in Geophysical Research Letters, describes how a gaggle of scientists approached the Alberta Aurora Chasers to supply pictures of Steve from two totally different locations and angles. Stars have been recognized within the background of those pictures using the SkySafari application. The stars have been then used to exactly orient the images. This facilitated the triangulation of the altitude ranges of the two phenomena.
Typical aurora is caused by energetic electrons traveling down Earth’s magnetic field. When these electrons collide with the environment roughly 100 km above Earth’s surface, they excite atoms, which then emit red, green, and violet light. In contrast, Steve doesn’t seem like caused by energetic electrons and is white in color.