The recently recorded atmospheric lightshow STEVE gets weirder. For the uninitiated STEVE, which is short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement is a light streak that appears just to the south of the Northern Lights. It is mauve in color and is formed by a band of plasma. It is said to be a different phenomenon that is markedly different from the Auroras. One can also spot some green spikes amongst them.
Recent studies have shown that it may not be a part of the Auroras after all. Auroras are said to form when electrons from the magnetic bubble surrounding the earth’s atmosphere cascade into the atmosphere. These electrons make the nitrogen-filled air glow blue. Oxygen-filled air glows green, as a result of the phenomena. STEVE’s green fence-like structure also contains some streaks of blue.
What Scientists And Researchers Have Concluded?
Scientists and researchers have concluded, that the atmospheric lightshow STEVE’s picket fence structure consists of green streaks that that stick out like feet from the bottom of some of its vertical stripes. The electron showers that form the Aurora cannot form these structures. Joshua Semeter, an engineer at Boston University, has said, that these findings are typical unnatural. No scientific explanation has been unearthed yet.
One of the few scientists working on the phenomena have identified blobs of glowing gas that moves through the atmosphere. The turbulence in the plasma torrent seems to have created the green blobs. Ions carrying a positive charge rushes through the atmosphere forming a smooth purple band. For those who are unaware of the scientific realm, electrons that make up the plasma are light in nature. They also stand a chance to get trapped by Earth’s magnetic strip. Thus, those particles have a bumpy ride in the atmosphere. These high-energy electrons get tangled up at the edge of the plasma stream below the purple band. The particles make the electrons in pockets of oxygen glow green.
Scientists are creating computerized simulations to find out the origin and reasoning behind such activities. More and more researchers are devoting time to the STEVE today. They might be related to the Vertical picket fence, if reports are to be believed. There are STEVE-specific particle interactions that go on in the atmosphere.
Research On To Unearth Several Possibilities
Scientists say, that future satellite observations can give definitive explanation to the activities that result in the formation of the atmospheric lightshow STEVE. Confirmations on possible interactions with electrons from the magnetosphere are pending. The satellites that are suspended in space will give the explanations of these massive upheavals in the spatial currents.
Some time back. Beatriz Gallardo-Lacourt at the University of Calgary in Canada and her colleagues measured electrons as well as ions in the upper atmosphere during a STEVE show for the first time. They found the number of particles responsible for Auroras, are present in lesser amounts. The name of the actual process is still under investigation.
Thus, such scientific research on Auroras, shows that the Aurora named STEVE, may not be an Aurora after all.