CALGARY — Amateur scientists in Canada have helped researchers discover a new type of northern lights.
The glowing ribbon of purple — and sometimes green — light that runs east-west in the night sky has been observed and photographed by aurora borealis chasers for years.
A photographer in Calgary named it Steve.
New research published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances suggests that the narrow visible structure, which is distinct from traditional aurora, was largely undocumented in scientific literature.
Little was known about how it formed.
Early research by scientists at NASA and various universities suggests it’s a powerful current created by charged particles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
They have kept the name Steve — only now it stands for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE) — and will continue to research the phenomenon.