Scientists Name Newly Discovered Light ‘Steve’

We’ve had to get used to some rather unusual official names recently, with the stand out one being Boaty McBoatface. However, there’s a new contender for most unusual name, and it’s all thanks to a social media group called the Alberta Aurora Chasers (AAC).

The AAC is a Facebook group attracting members of the public who are interested in the night sky. They take photographs of the aurora natural light displays they witness, share, and discuss them. During a talk, they met up with Eric Donovan from the University of Calgary. He’s an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Looking through the AAC’s photographs, Donovan noticed a purple streak of light he did not recognize and which the group referred to as a “proton arc.” Determined to find out what it really was, Donovan turned to the European Space Agency’s Swarm trio of satellites, which study Earth’s magnetic field.

Sure enough, Swarm had managed to capture the purple light streak, with Donovan explaining that when it happened, “The temperature 300 km above Earth’s surface jumped by 3000°C and the data revealed a 25 km-wide ribbon of gas flowing westwards at about 6 km/s compared to a speed of about 10 m/s either side of the ribbon.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: PC Mag, Matthew Humphries