“Steve”- a mysterious Aurora discovered by a young astronomer

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On 25th July 2016, a Canadian amateur astronomer and skywatcher named Bourassa who is also an IT technician in Regina, Canada was showing his two kids in the out the colorful dance of amalgamated night sky of Aurora Borealis. During the midnight, he came across a thin purple ribbon of light on the air that was glowing as well. He started taking some random pictures and videos of the fantastic sight where the mysterious light was flowing on the skylines.

steve, aurora, canada

He had spent years chasing the aurora lights, and he very well knew that this purple ribbon of light is nothing as sort of the natural aurora lights that he has been used to seeing and it was something new to experience out in the sky.

This was an accidental observation that caught on camera that was considered as a discovery of the new lights of Aurora Borealis. Bourassa along with the other members of the facebook group named this mysterious light as “Steve.”

There is a citizen science project named as Aurorasaurus that NASA funds to track the lights of aurora borealis with the reports and tweets submitted by users who are interested in knowing and learning more about the views but have no formal education to publish their findings. After looking at all the images and videos submitted by the users, NASA concluded that Aurora is not any ordinary Aurora ribbon of light.

“Steve is considerably a visible counterpart to a feature in the upper atmosphere known as subauroral ion drift,” says geo-and heliophysicist at NASA, Elizabeth Macdonald. She also stated, “This narrow, subauroral, visible structure, irrelevant to the traditional auroral oval, was undocumented largely in the scientific literature and very less information is available regarding this.”

To keep the first name and the original discoverers intact with the new ray of light, Steve’s technical name has been given Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement or STEVE.

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