|I shot this just east of Glasgow, looking NNW. This was the only really extensive ray in the sky by the time I got out there. It was very faint, so the image is pushed pretty hard.|
What's cool here is that this is an instance of STEVE which is not — at least entirely — an aurora.
A STEVE is caused by energetic electrons relatively tightly channeled into Earth's ionosphere, the layer of our planet's atmosphere where atoms lose electrons due to solar and cosmic radiation. The friction that cascade creates imparts heat to air molecules, which creates the glow. So that part of the event isn't an aurora.
Satellite measurements have revealed how the green picket fence portion of STEVE develops. That part is an aurora. Data revealed magnetic waves moving from Earth's magnetosphere to the ionosphere. In this region, the waves can both energize electrons and move them out of the magnetosphere, creating the picket-fence appearance you see above.
So a very cool catch — my very first one as far as I can recall.
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