Not unknown

LiveScience is all agog over a “newly discovered” aurora phenomenon.

As Dyer noted, the strange sky glow called STEVE was first described by citizen scientists and aurora hunters in northern Canada in 2017. STEVE is typically composed of an enormous ribbon of purplish light, which can hang in the sky for an hour or more, accompanied by a “picket fence” of green light that usually disappears within a few minutes.

It wasn’t newly discovered. The UFO fans in the ’50s saw and described this persistent bright streak. They didn’t call it a UFO, but speculated that it might have been a trail or emission from a UFO. Modern observers have figured out that ‘STEVE’ is basically a magnetic gust or microburst. The disc-type UFOs seemed to operate by manipulating the geomagnetic field in some way, so the correlation is more plausible than the ’50s folks knew.

(Some of these streaks might have been jet contrails, but passenger jets didn’t really take over the sky until the mid-60s, after these UFO discussions.)

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