Purple-coloured northern lights are now being called Steve

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      Many photographs of aurora borealis, a.k.a. the northern lights, show them in green.

      But recently, people are paying more attention to a purple hue that's been extending up as an arc into the sky in some northern lights photos.

      And now, CBC News has reported, this phenomenon has been dubbed "Steve" by northern lights aficionado and Calgary software product manager Chris Ratzlaff.

      This name has been accepted by scientists, who say that Steve stands for "strong thermal emission velocity enhancement", which is what's occurring in this instance.

      As the Straight has reported before, aurora borealis is normally created when electrically charged particles from the sun collide with gas particles in the Earth's atmosphere along a magnetic field.

      But according to the CBC story, Steve travels along a different magnetic field than the regular northern lights and appears quite different when it can be seen with the naked eye.

      The Weather Network has reported that aurora borealis is expected to be visible over Canada tonight (March 17) and Sunday (March 18) night.

      So grab your camera and go looking for Steve!