That Ghostly, Glowing Light Above Canada? It’s Just Steve

May 1, 2017

By Jacey Fortin

If you happen to be in Canada on a clear night, look to the stars and maybe you’ll see it: a strip of light stretching from east to west, all the way from the banks of Hudson Bay to the fjords of British Columbia.

Is it a wayward piece of the aurora borealis? Or maybe a plane’s contrail? A rarely seen strip of a proton aurora? Or is it a comet’s tail?

Actually, it’s none of the above. Scientists are still working to figure out exactly what they’re dealing with.

And until that day, they’re going to call it Steve.

What sets Steve apart is not just its charmingly banal name. It’s also the way it has been — and is still being — discovered, said Eric Donovan, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Calgary.

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