Thursday, 18 July, 2019

Tech: New kind of aurora is not an aurora at all

Tech: New kind of aurora is not an aurora at all Tech: New kind of aurora is not an aurora at all
Sandra Phillips | 22 August, 2018, 21:12

They found a relatively narrow ribbon of green and purple light, different from the known varieties of the Aurora Borealis. Astrophysicists have been studying images STEVE thanks to modern equipment and came to the conviction that the mechanism of this phenomenon is radically different from the Aurora. The name honors a character in the animated movie Over the Hedge, who was afraid of a mysterious hedge and made a decision to call it Steve. But, what if we told you that STEVE is not even a real aurora, and is in fact a totally new event that has amazed scientists?

"The aurora you see in the sky, at least from our data, is moving at a certain speed, and then you have [Steve] moving insane fast at lower latitudes, passing from east to west, super narrow, nearly like a comet", explained Bea Gallardo-Lacourt from the University of Calgary and the study's leading author.

Scientists from the USA and Canada have found that a rare atmospheric phenomenon, known who discovered it by Amateur researchers "Steve", is not the Aurora, despite the similarities.

Earlier this year, in February, researchers announced that the glowing purple and white streaks in the sky were really a new type of Aurora.

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It turned out that scientists were unable to explain the fantastic celestial phenomenon called "Steve".

The reports by citizens over the years on Steve fueled a study published in March in the journal Science Advances shedding light on this new "optical structure in the upper atmosphere".

"Right now, we know very little about it", Gallardo-Lacourt said. However, on March 28, 2008, when the observed phenomenon, orbital satellite, belonging to the National oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA), did not register any flow of charged particles. And that's the cool thing because this has been known by photographers for decades. The POES-17 satellite detected no charged particles raining down to the ionosphere during the STEVE event, which means it is likely produced by an entirely different mechanism, according to the authors. "But for the scientists, it's completely unknown". For now, they've chose to call it a skyglow.

Next, researchers want to see if a stream of fast-moving ions and super-hot electrons in the ionosphere are creating STEVE or something else higher up in the atmosphere is responsible for producing this mysterious light.

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