According to a study by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) ribbons of purple and white light shooting up into the night sky that made its appearance a few decades back is not an aurora.
Amateur photographers who started taking pictures of the phenomena named it STEVE and it seems to have stuck.
These bands of purple and white lights piercing into the night sky were originally thought to be an aurora. However a research team led by a Canadian Physicist Bea Gallardo-Lacourt from the University of Calgary in Canada concluded that they are not. But, they are not exactly sure what causes them.
The research group came to this conclusion after studying a STEVE that appeared in Ontario, Canada on March 28, 2008. In addition to analyzing the phenomena using ground cameras already in place to photograph auroras, they also used data from a satellite, POES-17, that found no charged particles associated with this particular STEVE.
The lights associated with auroras, also called the Northern Lights, are caused when the sun spews out charged protons and electrons. When these charge particles hit earth, they excite the molecules and atoms in our planet’s upper atmosphere causing them to “light up.”
The researchers also noted a few differences between a STEVE and an aurora. While auroras tend to be regular occurrences, STEVES only occur a few times a year. STEVES are also seen closer to the equator, while auroras appear in higher latitudes. As well, a STEVE appears as a narrow band of light, while auroras tend to spread out along the horizon.
In its news release, AGU said:
“The researchers said STEVE is a new kind of optical phenomenon they call ‘skyglow.’ There next step is to see whether the streams of fast ions and hot electrons are creating a STEVE’s light, or if the light is produced higher up in the atmosphere.”
So the timing of STEVE’s arrival is interesting, because it makes me wonder if this “new kind of optical phenomenon” is a sign of the times?
When Jesus prophesied that the temple was going to be destroyed (Luke 21:5-6), the conversation quickly turned to a discussion of what we refer to today as the end times leading to Christ’s second coming (Luke 21:27).
When the disciples asked what signs they could expect:
10 Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:10-11 NASV)
Jesus said there would be wars, earthquakes, famine and plagues, and then Christ added there would be “signs from heaven.” Signs is in the plural meaning there will be more than one.
Though many believe we have entered the countdown to the end times, and probably have been since Israel was restored as a nation in 1948, is this “new celestial phenomena” one of those signs that Jesus predicted or is it just a coincidence?
- Mysterious ribbons of light dubbed ‘STEVE” are not auroras, after all: Scientists say the ‘skyglows’ represent an entirely new celestial phenomena: Daily Mail
- Researchers say STEVE isn’t an aurora: Earth Sky