Scientists explained the origin of the mysterious light streaks in the sky

STEVE New Upper Atmospheric Phenomenon

STEVE New Upper Atmospheric Phenomenon

A multicolor light in the atmosphere grabbed skygazers' attention a year ago, and scientists still aren't sure what it was. But new research suggests these mysterious streams of light are not an aurora at all but an entirely new celestial phenomenon.

Amateur photographers had clicked the contemporary circumstance called STEVE on films for years. 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. At its turn, Steve phenomenon, although it's similar in appearance to auroras, is not an aurora, the new study concludes.

Initially it was thought that "Steve" he is a rare view of the Aurora.

"Right now, we know very little about it", Gallardo-Lacourt said. And that's the cool thing because this has been known by photographers for decades. "But for the scientists, it's completely unknown". But a recent study claims that this purple stream of light in not an aurora at all.

Auroras or northern lights occur when charged particles from the sun interact with Earth's magnetic field and emit spectacular lights with a green, red and blue glow. Aurorasaurus, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, is looking to crowdsource an answer to the Steve phenomenon. Aurora's lights last hours and are visible every night depending on viewing conditions. It appears closer to the equator than the Aurora and vanishes after around 20 minutes. Going forward, the researchers hope to determine what layer of the atmosphere is creating the light, which could help explain how it forms in the first place. The light protons produce falls out of the range of wavelengths picked up by normal cameras.

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The ribbons of purple and white were fascinating enough to experts, they earned their own nickname: Steve.

Where does STEVE come from? Scientists planning to find out whether there is a mystical illumination of the ions and electrons in the ionosphere at longer distances than in the conventional cases. Hopefully, Gallardo-Lacourt and her fellow scientists will continue to decipher Steve's secrets with further research. However, the satellite detected no charged particles raining down to the ionosphere during the unusual phenomenon. This means that the phenomenon was an entirely new one.

The study states there was no indication for any high-energy precipitation observed during the 2008 sighting of Steve and that the unusual occurrence "could be generated by a new and fundamentally different mechanism in the ionosphere".

The researchers gave it a new name, calling it "skyglow", although STEVE is still appropriate for use.

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