there is something mysterious and beautiful floating in the night sky.
steve. shimmering, oddball steve. ( krista trinder / paulo fedozzi / megan hoffman)
an article by mindy weisberger on space.com explains
an oddball sky glow endearingly named “steve” captivated aurora chasers from the moment they first spotted and photographed the unique light display over canada in 2016.
steve somewhat resembled an aurora, but its sky-climbing ribbons and ladders of purple and green light were distinctly different in shape and behavior from those produced by a typical aurora.
ribbon and ladder (alibaba.com)
chasing steve is a documentary about the discovery and study of steve. in the movie, nasa goddard space flight center researcher elizabeth macdonald says…
auroras — and steve — occur because the sun spews “a glitter bomb of charged particles” that stream 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) toward earth…. once those particles reach our planet, they interact with the upper atmosphere to produce spectacular light displays that shimmer against the backdrop of the night sky.
spew means forcefully release. there is a picture of glitter below. stream means consistently flow. once in this context means when. reach means arrive. shimmer means emit light with small variations of intensity. backdrop is the same as background, what’s behind an object being viewed.
glitter lipstick (beautyblvd.com)
according to leah mallen, who co-produced and co-directed chasing steve with jess fraser…
members of the alberta [canada] aurora chasers group share a deep-seated dedication to preserving those light shows in their photography, despite the lost sleep and hours of late-night waiting, often in vain, to capture one, perfect photo. after several photographers spotted a display unlike any aurora they’d seen before — a prominent vertical streak, rather than a horizontal wave — they started calling it “steve,” a nod to the film “over the hedge” (dreamworks animation, 2006), in which talking animals randomly give that name to an object that they’ve never seen before (a hedge).
deep-seated means firm, strong. despite means that losing sleep/staying up all night didn’t make any difference, the photographers didn’t always get pictures of steve. similarly, in vain means without success. a streak is a skinny line. rather than indicates that auroras are usually horizontal waves, NOT vertical streaks. a nod to shows recognition and probably respect. randomly means there is no order to their naming process. a hedge is used in landscaping. it’s a wall made of bushes.
over the hedge. or maybe through the hedge on this poster (get over it, ha ha)
the article shares the opinion of german aurora historian and enthusiast (person who is interested) michael hunnekuhl
steve has risen to prominence in the news within the past few years, but it’s been around for far longer.
far in this context is much. has risen is present perfect. risen is the irregular past participle of rise. the past tense, also irregular, is rose. rise (pronounced like size or eyes) has a meaning similar to raise (pronounced like days or praise) but they are applied differently. rise to prominence is a common expression. raise to prominence is NOT.
raise the roof is a popular dance move and phrase. rise the roof is not.
weisberger explains that
hunnekuhl pored over scores of descriptions of observations, looking for mentioned features unlike those seen in typical aurora displays
pore over means analyze, study. a score is a set of twenty. scores in this context means many.
the score on the scoreboard is a score plus four to a score(spectrumscoreboards.com)
hunnekuhl recognizes norwegian carl størmer as an auroral pioneer. størmer described sightings in the 1930s and 1940s that may have been steve as…
feeble homogenous arcs of great altitude
feeble means weak.
the feeble, homogenous arcs known as steve (jun wang/all in pictures)
and weisberger says that “feeble homogenous arcs of great altititde” is…
a fine name, though certainly not as catchy as “steve”
though is the same as but. catchy means immediately stays in people’s memories, they can’t forget it. this video from the watchmojo.com channel on youtube features songs that are both catchy and annoying.
and at a screening of chasing steve, eric donovan, a professor of physics and astronomy at the university of calgary commented
there is still much to unravel about what causes the conditions that shape steve, but the recent discoveries were only possible due to the combined efforts and communication between researchers and citizen scientists like the aurora chasers.
unravel means figure out, explain. shape is a verb in this phrase that means form, create. due to means because of.
unravel can also mean come apart, like the red sweater unravels in this gif from sabrina the teenage witch (giphy.com)
will u be looking for steve in the night sky over your hometown? share your experience under leave a reply
have fun, amigos.