Radiant Purple Sky Ribbon Defies Explanation:
’You may have met people named Steve in your life, but have you met the radiant ribbon of colorful light in the night sky named Steve? This unexplained phenomenon looks deceptively similar to an aurora and is observed at the same high latitudes in both hemispheres where you’d expect to see magnetic light shows.
Named by Calgary-based photographer Chris Ratzlaff—it’s a nod to the 2006 film Over the Hedge, which classifies “the unknown” as “Steve”—this ribbon appears to be made of hot gas, in the range of 3,000°C (5,430°F). It forms 450 kilometers (280 miles) above Earth’s surface.
Once scientists started studying Steve in 2016, they gave it an official backronym: Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement. Despite its visual similarity to auroras, research published Monday in Geophysical Research Letters confirms that Steve is generated by a different, unexplained process.…’