General, Research, Technology

Scientists have encountered an unknown atmospheric phenomenon

Meet This Steve - Recently Discoveredunknown atmospheric phenomenon. It is so unusual that it still has no official scientific explanation. Hence, by the way, and such a clearly unusual name. Thanks to the continuous work carried out over the course of several months by a group of enthusiasts and specialists studying atmospheric phenomena, it is now possible to get to know Steve more closely. However, many questions still remain a mystery to scientists.

This amazing phenomenon was first noticed by the group.Facebook enthusiasts watching and studying auroras. Thanks to the power of the Internet, as well as the media, the news quickly grew into comments as well as reports from other observers. The phenomenon is a bright violet-green ribbon of light slowly floating across the sky. And unlike other known types of auroras, scientists still do not know what is its source. The group Alberta Aurora Chasers, who discovered this phenomenon, decided to call it "Steve" in honor of one of the characters in the children's cartoon "Forest Brothers", who used to give the name Steve to every object inexplicable from his point of view.

Soon the work of amateur enthusiasts attractedthe attention of scientists from NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), as well as the University of Calgary (Canada), who are now also trying to find out what is really behind this phenomenon. And here on the western blogs the first information just began to appear. So, the Aurorasaurus blog reports that the width of the Steve’s ribbon, which stretches, as a rule, from east to west, is about 25-30 kilometers. At the same time, its length can be hundreds, and possibly thousands of kilometers. The phenomenon can last for an hour or a little longer and, most likely, is seasonal. From October to February, it was not observed. The main color gives a purple tint, often accompanied by green "feathers" that quickly disappear. Most often, the phenomenon is observed in the northern part of Canada (near Calgary, the Canadian province of Alberta). Initially, enthusiasts thought that the proton activity in the atmosphere could be a source of the phenomenon, but proton auroras are invisible to the naked eye, so this option was immediately discarded.

Professor, Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Calgary, Eric Donovan also expressed interest in this unusual atmospheric phenomenon and decided to study the data collected as part of the Swarm satellite mission of the European Space Agency, which studies the Earth's magnetic field. As part of the mission, three satellites are used that carry out high-precision measurements of the strength, direction and changes in the state of the Earth's magnetic field, causing the appearance of auroras. This amazing phenomenon is created as a result of the collision of highly charged particles of the solar wind with gas particles that make up the atmosphere of our planet, such as oxygen and nitrogen.

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More recently, Swarm satellites flew right over“Steve,” and the data collected by their research tools, showed very clear changes in the state of the environment in the field of this phenomenon.

"Temperature at an altitude of 300 kilometers aboveEarth's surface jumped to 3,000 degrees Celsius. The data showed that part of the Steve loop 25 kilometers wide on the west side was moving at that moment at a speed of 6 kilometers per second, while the speed of its opposite side was 10 kilometers per second, ”Donovan said in an ESA press release.

Doubting such incredible temperaturechanges, the Gizmodo portal decided to contact Donovan directly and asked for clarification if the data are correctly indicated on the ESA website, to which he replied that the temperature growth indicators are indicated correctly. Gizmodo reporters also asked if Donovan was unaware of the cause of such temperature changes.

“My colleague Beya Gallardo-Lacourt and I are working on one option, but we cannot comment on anything concrete at the moment. However, we are going to publish our ideas very soon. ”

Donovan also noted that he was very surprisedhow often "Steve" appears. The phenomenon most likely manifested itself earlier, but scientists only now drew attention to it and decided that it clearly deserves its presentation as a separate atmospheric phenomenon. In addition, the researcher noted an unusual spectral set: the “Steve” color combinations are not like ordinary aurora.

“I saw him a few months ago over Calgary. True, it is very bright. My colleague suggested that it may be the most visible type of radiance, but at the same time the least studied, since we simply did not pay attention to it. "