STEVE over Finland
© Rayann Elzein
Last night, STEVE visited Finland. The purple ribbon of light, which is not an aurora, appeared over Utsjoki in the Finnish Lapland. "This is very unusual," says Rayann Elzein, who photographed the apparition.

"I've been chasing auroras in Arctic Finland for nearly a decade, and this is only the second time I have seen STEVE here at 70 degrees N," says Elzein.

STEVE normally appears at latitudes around +50N to +55N with occasional excursions into the mid 40s and low 60s. Elzein's sighting is almost 20 degrees farther north than usual, a sign that STEVE's habitat may be wider than previously thought.

STEVE is caused by hot (3000°C) ribbons of gas, which flow through Earth's magnetosphere during some geomagnetic storms. There was no geomagnetic storm on Jan. 6th, but a stealthy CME embedded in the solar wind may have stirred these currents anyway.