Steve: The Mysterious Auroral Arc in Pictures

Alan Dyer

A strong geomagnetic storm was brewing in the skies above Alberta, Canada, on Sept. 27th.

And suddenly a purple arc appeared in the sky. It was the mysterious aurora known as “Steve”.

For many years, northern sky watchers have reported this luminous form occasionally dancing among regular auroras. It was widely called a “proton arc” until researchers pointed out that protons probably had nothing to do with it. So members of the Alberta Aurora Chasers group gave it a new name: “Steve.”

Mysterious auroral arc named Steve appears in the sky of Alberta on September 27, 2017. By Alan Dyer

The Canadian Prairies seems to be ideal for sighting Steve, as they often get the main aurora to the north, placing Steve overhead or to the south. The Steve arc appeared for only about 20 minutes, starting at 10:45 pm MDT:

Mysterious auroral arc steteve, steve Mysterious auroral arc, Mysterious auroral arc alberta steve, steve alberta pictures, Mysterious auroral arc named Steve appears in the sky of Aerta on September 27, 2017

Steve making a strange isolated auroral arc over Alberta on September 27 2017. By Alan Dyer

No one fully understands the underlying physics of the purple ribbon. One of the European Space Agency’s Swarm satellites flew straight through Steve during a previous apparition. Data revealed a relatively hot river of gas, about 25 km wide, flowing rapidly through Earth’s outer atmosphere.

Steve seems to be a thermal emission from hot flowing gas rather than from precipitating electrons, but his origin and nature are still mysterious.

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This article (Steve: The mysterious auroral arc in pictures) was originally published on WEBSITE and syndicated by The Event Chronicle

1 Comment

  1. That is one of the most beutiful images i have seen i a very long time. Hopefully a sign of Earth been healed with Pink loving energy. As we all know, it is desparately needed