Steve and the Power of Citizen Science
The power of Citizen Science is continuing to show as groups around the world make more and more discoveries. For example, groups of Aurora chasers and documentarians have identified a hereto unknown phenomenon in the sky. At the time, they called it "Steve," in homage to the Movie Over the Hedge (because they didn't know what it was!), however, they have since enlisted the help of Eric Donovan from the University of Calgary. Donovan works with the European Space Agency's (ESA) Swarm magnetic field mission, an Earth-Observing constellation of satellites measuring how the Earth's magnetic field changes.
With data from Swarm, Donovan was able to characterize Steve a little better: it is a ribbon of gas that is flowing westward around the Earth about 300 km above the surface. The ribbon is about 25 km wide, travelling at 6 km/s, and measures in temperature at about 3000°C!