Early last year, a little-regarded atmospheric phenomenon gained the attention of researchers when citizen scientists drew attention to it on social media: Giving it the highly-scientific name of "Steve", this luminous purple ribbon that occasionally streaks across the sky is a fast-moving stream of hot gases that occurs high in the atmosphere. Initially assumed to be part of the aurora borealis, a recent study of the phenomenon has found that it has nothing to do with the display of charged particles that light up the polar atmosphere — so, just what is Steve?
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