miércoles, 28 de marzo de 2018

Meet Steve, a New Kind of Aurora Borealis (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement)

This week we're staying close to home, because there's a new visitor in town: Everyone, meet Steve. Steve is short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, and is a new kind of aurora on earth. You might know the aurora better as the northern lights, but you haven’t seen aurora borealis like this, not like Steve.

Auroras are caused by highly energized particles called the solar wind. These particles are spit out from the Sun into space; when they arrive at Earth, though, they run into our very powerful magnetic field, which actually keeps us alive by deflecting solar radiation. As our magnetic field and the solar particles interact, they create a dazzling display of light. Depending on what color and patterns show up, these tell scientists a lot about the interactions taking place.

A citizen scientist in Canada was observing the aurora borealis just for fun when he spotted a long sliver of purple with green stripes overhead. These were new features, and he nicknamed the phenomenon Steve. Atmospheric researchers are now encouraging citizen scientists who live in the northern parts of the globe to keep a close watch out for Steve. NASA will use ground observations alongside satellite data to learn exactly what Steve's up to and how it's creating a new show of lights.

Source: wired.com