Sometimes, the story behind how a scientific phenomenon is named can be fascinating and strange.
In the case of a new type of Northern lights, or aurora borealis, a Canadian photographer who is part of a group who chases and photographs auroras in Alberta, Canada, the lights were named as a joke. In the movie Over the Hedge, a squirrel suggests naming an unknown hedge “Steve,” and the other animals agree. So when the photographer saw this previously unrecorded phenomenon, he suggested naming it Steve. And it stuck.
In order to make it a bit more scientific, scientists have decided to use Steve as the acronym for this type of aurora, with the full name being Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement. There’s still a lot to be learned about these Northern lights called Steve, and the scientists will be working with the photographers to use a spectrograph attached to a digital camera the next time Steve appears. Then they’ll be able to analyze the phenomenon more thoroughly.Follow us online: