Click to enlarge — Alberta Aurora Chasers/Ryan Sault
Thin ribbons of purple and white light that sometimes appear in the night sky were dubbed a new type of aurora when brought to scientists’ attention in 2016…Amateur photographers had captured the new phenomenon, called STEVE, on film for decades. But the scientific community only got wind of STEVE in 2016. When scientists first looked at images of STEVE, they realized the lights were slightly different than light from typical auroras but were not sure what underlying mechanism was causing them…
“Our main conclusion is that STEVE is not an aurora,” said Bea Gallardo-Lacourt, a space physicist at the University of Calgary in Canada and lead author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “So right now, we know very little about it. And that’s the cool thing, because this has been known by photographers for decades. But for the scientists, it’s completely unknown.”
RTFA. You’ll enjoy it. STEVE, btw, is a “backronym” which stands for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement.