STEVE and other aurora-like glows perplex scientists with their complex physics

STEVE airglow streaking across night sky

Scientists are struggling to figure out the right recipe of atmospheric conditions that create STEVE (purple) and its sidekick, the picket fence (green), seen in this all-sky photo from Alberta, Canada.

© 2022 Alan Dyer/

From the pristine dark of his backyard in rural Alberta, Canada, Alan Dyer has taken stunning photos of a rare sky glow called STEVE. To capture this ribbon of mauve, he and other citizen scientists typically let their cameras collect light for seconds at a time.