Early Monday morning a powerful solar storm hit planet Earth. The stream of charged solar particles from the sun caused an arresting display of aurora when they hit the Earth’s atmosphere. One lucky astrophotographer captured the spectacular sky and also managed to witness a very rare elusive phenomenon called STEVE.
Alan Dyer, an astronomy writer and photographer based in southern Alberta, Canada, knew exactly what he was seeing. The iridescent purple river of light crossing the sky wasn’t just part of the usual aurora, but was created by an entirely different mechanism and wasn’t even discovered until 2017.