‘STEVE’, the mysterious astronomical phenomenon that split the sky in two

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The mysterious green ribbon that split the sky in two this August was not an aurora borealis. It was ‘STEVE’, a completely different astronomical phenomenon.

Millions of solar particles arrived at Earth between August 7 and 8, 2022. Product of a ravenous geomagnetic storm, hit our planet with cosmic radiation. In its wake, the line that had formed after the crash was thought to be an aurora borealis. Today, astronomers are completely stumped: For 40 minutes, a line of light crossed the sky, and no one really knows what it is.

Although it is true that scientists know that it originated after the solar call, little has been studied regarding this astronomical phenomenon. Similar to a common aurora borealis, occurs at much lower latitudes. In addition, it does not lose the luminous intensity with which the Nordic lights dazzle the celestial vault. This is what we know so far.

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A line of light that split the sky in two

Copyright 2022 Alan Dyer /

Alan Dyer is a photographer and astronomer. He lives in Alberta, Canada, and was one of the few observers of the celestial vault who managed to register ‘STEVE’, the astronomical phenomenon that split the sky in two at the beginning of August. According to LiveSciencethe specialist “captured the faint ribbons of green and violet light on camera as they soared through the sky.”

From his personal Twitter account, the astrophotographer announced that “STEVE lasted about 40 minutes, appearing as the…northern aurora calmed down. STEVE was ‘discovered’ here, so he likes showing up here more than anywhere else! «

The green ‘spots’ only lasted two minutes, according to Dyer’s records. In contrast, the purple line held for nearly 40 minutes. The first time a similar phenomenon was documented in Canada was in 2017. At the time, scientists had no idea what it was.

Copyright 2022 Alan Dyer /

Based on satellite observations to date, it appears that STEVE is the product of of lines of cosmic gas, which is heated above 3 thousand degrees Celsius. In fact, STEVE stands for “Strong Thermal Velocity Enhancement”, which translates from English as “strong improvement of thermal speed«.

The air that comes into contact with the solar energy particles moves 500 times faster than ‘common’ air on Earthastronomers say. That is why it produces such impressive images, which appear to be the Northern Lights. Seen like this, STEVE could be a distant cousin of the northern lights.

Keep reading:

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How worried we should be about geomagnetic storms hitting Earth

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