Steve is an atmospheric optical phenomenon which appears as a light ribbon in the sky, formally discovered in 2017 by aurora watchers in Alberta.
Originally the aurora watchers, members of a Facebook group named Alberta Aurora Chasers attributed the light phenomenon to a proton aurora and mistakenly called them proton arcs. One of the members of the Alberta Aurora Chasers group suggested “Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement” as a backronym of STEVE in April 2017.
While the aurora is similar to the glorious northern lights (aurora borealis), it was a phenomenon not formally defined in the science world. Rather than the traditional blue and green hues, Steve appears as a purple band of light.
With the group collaborating and sharing their images of the light with aurora researchers at NASA, they were able to publish their findings in the journal of Science Advances this year.