Mysteries

Mysterious luminous stripes photographed above the Earth. Scientists are still arguing about the nature of their origin

Alan Dyer, an amateur astronomer from Canada, photographed a rare and still mysterious phenomenon in the atmosphere – the so-called Steve (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement – STEVE).

According to eyewitnesses, stripes of green and purple were visible for 40 minutes. The STEVE phenomenon was discovered in 2017 by Canadian amateur astronomers. At first, these jets were considered a type of Northern Lights, but later scientists said that the proton arcs should be invisible to the human eye. 

Specially equipped to study the phenomenon, the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission satellites, which monitor changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, have demonstrated that the Northern Lights flashes occur much higher.

In the end, with the help of the Swarm satellites, specialists managed to analyze the phenomenon, which showed that people observed a jet of hot gas with a temperature of up to 3000 degrees Celsius at an altitude of about 300 km.

Scientists drew attention to STEVE after its photos began to appear in social networks in 2017.

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In addition, it was possible to find out that Steve is green, purple or fuchsia, has a width of 25-30 kilometers, rushing at a speed of 6 kilometers per second.

Jets really arise along with the Northern Lights. It can be assumed that their appearance is somehow connected with the solar wind. But what exactly warms up the air, why it starts to move so rapidly, geophysicists cannot yet explain.

According to one hypothesis, the phenomenon is formed after a sudden release of thermal and kinetic energy caused by the collision of charged particles in the atmosphere during geomagnetic storms. 

At the same time, scientists still do not have an exhaustive explanation as well as the ability to predict the appearance of such jets and note that they need to conduct more additional research in order to fully understand the drive of the origin of this mysterious phenomenon.

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