February 23, 2024


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What you need to know about the purple light phenomenon

What you need to know about the purple light phenomenon

Strange but true

That purple glow in the night sky? This is Steve.

STEVE, or strong thermal emission velocity enhancement, is an atmospheric phenomenon that accompanies aurora borealis, such as the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights, which They were spotted this week across the United States.

The streak of purple light, often bordered by green spots, is the result of magnetic storms They are usually caused by plasma explosions from the Sun and are known to disturb GPS systems or power grids on Earth.

Energetic particles from the Sun hurtling toward Earth are redirected by our magnetic field Towards our poleswhich creates the aurora as it enters the atmosphere, according to Space.com website.

STEVE is not created from charged particles but is actually a gas. The violet stream is formed as a result of the hot atmosphere and rapid travel, which occurs at an altitude of 62 to 124 miles.

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Steve appears as a purple line, sometimes bordered with a green glow, in the night sky next to the aurora borealis.


Steve in the sky earlier this year.

Julie Smith/Story Picture Agency/Shutterstock

STEVE is the result of fast-moving hot gas in the upper atmosphere.

Julie Smith/Story Picture Agency/Shutterstock

Magnetic storms cause such rivers of fast-moving scorching gas.

“The atmosphere is heated by very fast plasma streams colliding with the neutral gas,” says Toshi Nishimura, an associate professor at Boston University’s School of Engineering and co-author of the book. Initial report on Steve in 2018“, he told Space.com.

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Steve first came to the attention of Citizen Scientists between 2015 and 2016 – They posted magnificent celestial views Connected.

Originally, STEVE was referred to as just Steve, named after the terrifying insurmountable fence from the animated film “Over the Hedge” to make him seem less threatening.

Later, researchers reverse-engineered the name, making STEVE an acronym.

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The aurora borealis differs from the aurora borealis, the latter of which is produced by hot, fast-moving gas streams.

Unified Payment Interface (UPI).

The aurora borealis is the result of charged particles coming into contact with the Earth’s magnetosphere.


Aurora is usually green, pink and red.

Yvette Cardozo

Twilight over Wales in September.

Matthew Brown/SWNS

Elizabeth McDonald, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and co-author of the 2018 STEVE report, It has been praised by amateur aurora seekersWhich was necessary to research this phenomenon.

They were able to capture what dedicated scientific cameras couldn’t because Steve appears at different wavelengths than the usual aurora, MacDonald told Space.com.

Steve was most recently spotted by keen stargazers in the UK and parts of Europe last weekend, with experts expecting to see the glowing spectacle more often due to an expected increase in solar activity.

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