Last Sunday (5), the STEVE event (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, in free translation) reappeared in the skies over the United Kingdom. Considered a mystery to scientists, sightings are rare: there were reports of sightings in the Shetland Islands in March and 2021.
Steve is not an aurora, although it is strongly associated with the aurora borealis, and sometimes both occur simultaneously. Even with the visual similarity, STEVE’s are different.
Typically, STEVEs appear as a single pink glowing band that stretches hundreds of kilometers across the sky. Yesterday, the apparition was spotted in Northumberland, County Durham and Argyll in the UK.
Photographer Owen Humphreys shared some pictures on his profile on the X social network.
—Owen Humphreys (@owenhumphreys1)
November 6, 2023
What explains it?
Auroras occur at the interaction of charged solar particles and molecules in Earth’s upper atmosphere, while STEVEs appear much lower in the sky, in the sub-auroral region. Scientists believe the phenomenon is made up of extremely hot, fast-moving particles.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is studying the events using images from the ground along with satellites. Auroras occur globally in an oval shape, with steves appearing as a band and lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour before disappearing from the sky.
Events can be difficult to photograph because they occur unpredictably and last for short periods of time. The event was reported in the United Kingdom, Canada, North American states and New Zealand, NASA said.
The event’s name is inspired by dialogue from the 2006 anime Os Sem Floresta, in which animals wake up from hibernation to find an impressive garden fence and decide to call it “Steve”. Less fear.
Source: Byte Editorial
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