Aurora light up night sky

Image Credit: ©Megan Hoffman (Used by permission)

What's in a name? If your name is Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement a.k.a. STEVE, then there's quite bit behind the name.

Glowing in mostly purple and green colors, a new celestial phenomenon is sparking the interest of scientists, photographers and astronauts. The display was initially discovered by a group of citizen scientists who took pictures of the unusual lights and playfully named them "Steve." Scientists have since learned more about the purples and greens, and have given it a more accurate name: Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, which can still can be shortened to STEVE.

A citizen science project called Aurorasaurus, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, wants your help gathering photos so they can learn more about this mysterious phenomenon. Aurorasaurus tracks appearances of auroras — and now STEVE — around the world through users submitting reports and photographs directly on its mobile app and on

Research about STEVE is providing a new visual identifier to help track the chemical and physical processes going on in near Earth space. This information can ultimately help us better understand the space weather near Earth which can interfere with satellites and communications signals. Learn more.

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