Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meet Steve, the new aurora

It's not every day that you meet a new auroral phenomenon.  But there is one -- with the unlikely moniker of  'Steve'.

An Aurora Called 'Steve'? Strange Sky Phenomenon Investigated

It's even been observed by satellite.

"Within a few weeks of searching, Donovan identified signs in the ground-based data that could match a Steve-like feature, and asked the Facebook group whether anyone had spotted it — sure enough, there were photos of Steve from that very location. And better yet, one of the Swarm satellites had flown through the feature.

"As the satellite flew straight through Steve, data from the electric field instrument showed very clear changes," Donovan said in the statement. "The temperature 300 kilometers [200 miles] above Earth's surface jumped by 3,000 degrees Celsius [5,500 degrees Fahrenheit], and the data revealed a 25-km-wide [16 miles] ribbon of gas flowing westwards at about 6 km/s [3.5 miles per second] compared to a speed of about 10 m/s [33 feet/s] either side of the ribbon." "

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