Scientists are calling it "Steve," and it is puzzling scientists around the world who can't explain why it's happening.
Scientists have spotted something strange in the atmosphere, something they can’t seem to explain that they have called “Steve.” Researchers have been studying an atmospheric phenomenon that has scientists stumped, which was spotted in photographs from the Albert Aurora Chasers.
The Facebook group had assumed it was a type of aurora called a “photon arc,” but those are invisible. So they used the European Space Agency’s Swarm electric field instruments to study “Steve,” and came to some surprising conclusions.
They found that the temperature soared to 3000 degrees Celsius 190 miles above the Earth’s surface, and a 15-mile-wide ribbon of gas flowed westwards at around 6 kilometers per second. And as it turns out, Steve is pretty common, but hadn’t been noticed before by scientists.
“While the shimmering, eerie, light display of auroras might be beautiful and captivating, they are also a visual reminder that Earth is connected electrically to the Sun,” the ESA statement reads. “A better understanding of the aurora helps to understand more about the relationship between Earth’s magnetic field and the charged atomic particles streaming from the Sun as the solar wind.”