Beautiful auroras are the result of ions in the solar wind exciting atoms in our atmosphere. This example of magnetohydrodynamics is typically only visible in the far northern and southern reaches of the globe. But in recent years, citizen scientists noticed a new aurora outside the polar regions. It looked like a narrow purple streak with occasional fingers of green. It got nicknamed Steve. Recent satellite measurements show that the aurora seems to be a visible emission from a known phenomenon, subauroral ion drift, which features a rapid flow of charged ions. In Steve’s case, this flow moves nearly 6 km/s and is around 6000 degrees Celsius. Scientists have dubbed the aurora S.T.E.V.E., Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, to honor the original nickname. Learn more from NASA and Science magazine. (Image credit: K. Trinder; NASA GSFC/CIL/K. Kim, source)

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