Amateur Canadian Astronomers Discover New Aurora by Accident

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Amateur Canadian Astronomers Discover New Aurora by Accident

The northern lights (aka aurora borealis) are a natural wonder of this world. The celestial phenomena of streaking lights in the northern hemisphere is caused by a combination of solar winds, magnetic fields and electrical currents. It is so wondrous that there are groups of aurora chasers who travel and spend evenings outdoors just to document them.

According to an article in last month’s issue of Science Advances, a group of amateur aurora chasers inadvertently discovered a new aurora previously unknown to astronomers. The new aurora is referred to as Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (or STEVE for short).

As The Atlantic noted about STEVE, “The newly described phenomenon appears as a narrow, glowing ribbon of lavender and emerald, emblazoned in the sky from east to west.”

STEVE appears as an arc much closer to the equator than aurora borealis and originates at a point twice as high in the sky. This gives it a very distinct difference from aurora borealis.

The Atlantic gives some backstory on STEVE’s discovery, which was done so by members of a Facebook group called Alberta Aurora Chasers. The documentation of STEVE goes back to 2010, but it was unknown to the scientific community until a project called Aurorasaurus connected with the Alberta Aurora Chasers.

  • Publisher: Adventure Sports Network
  • Twitter: @advntrsn
  • Citation: Web link

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Global Astronomy Month Celebrates the Moon

Astronomers Without Borders celebrates the night sky in its annual Global Astronomy Month ‘ a month-long collection of online events and in-person gatherings. This year’s theme: the Moon.

The Moon ‘ the theme for this year’s edition of Global Astronomy Month (GAM) throughout April ‘ outshines every other celestial object in its ability to inspire. From a bad omen to a sign of love, the Earth’s Moon has been important in cultures throughout the ages. For denizens of brightly-lit modern cities it’s practically the only nighttime object anyone ever notices.

The Moon can also play a role in connecting our planet’s inhabitants. A government minister in Kurdistan, Iraq, told me how, during a visit to California in the US, he was talking to someone in Iraq when they realized they could both see the Moon ‘ rising in California, setting in Iraq. Both saw the same object but from different angles on Earth’s sphere. Always visible from half the Earth’s surface, how many amateur astronomers, poets, lovers, and others gaze at the Moon at the same time?

The Moon may even have played a critical role in the creation of life on Earth because of its large size relative to our planet. There are larger moons in our solar system but they orbit planets that dwarf ours. In Voyager 1’s famous Pale Blue Dot image, Earth is just one bright pixel identified as our home planet. In Cassini’s image looking home from Saturn, Earth and the Moon seen together are unmistakable as a unique planet-moon system.

A live program with filmmakers Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet kicked off GAM, focusing on their inspiring new film, A New View of the Moon. The film follows Overstreet ‘ who discovered the rewards of public outreach by accident ‘ at various venues as he shares views of the Moon with passersby. The first-time viewers’ ‘wow moments’ include gasps and exclamations that will be familiar to any sidewalk astronomer. It’s the payoff for what we do.

  • Publisher: Sky & Telescope
  • Date: 2018-04-02T13:43:36-04:00
  • Twitter: @skyandtelescope
  • Citation: Web link

Watching: Astronomers Discover New Aurora, As The Atlantic, Global Astronomy Month Celebrates

Global Astronomy Month Celebrates the Moon
(Apr 2018) Always visible from half the Earth’s surface, how many amateur astronomers . on their inspiring new film, A New View of the Moon. The film follows Overstreet ‘ who discovered the rewards of public outreach by accident ‘ at various venues as

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