Flickr / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Krista Trinder

From Claude Monet's 'Water Lillies' to Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, the majesty of nature inspires humanity's most breath-taking sparks of creativity.

So, you'd be forgiven for having grand hopes for anything this stunning celestial view might inspire:

Picture:Picture: Flickr / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Krista Trinder

Humanity took one look at this beautiful ribbon of purple and sometimes green light running spectacularly across the sky, and the word that came to their lips was... Steve. Yep, Steve.

Seriously, they called it Steve.

Steve - aka Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, which is admittedly less catchy - was discovered with the help of amateur scientists in Canada.

Steve is an aurora, a phenomenon created by highly energised particles spit out by the sun called the solar wind.

When the particle arrive on Earth, they clash with our powerful magnetic field and create a sensational celestial show.

But Steve is not a normal aurora. Rather than occurring in an oval shape, it is a bizarre 'picket fence' structure.

In order to learn more about this new light show, atmospheric researchers are now encouraging citizen scientists of the northern hemisphere to keep an eye out for Steve.

To spot Steve, Nasa has some tips:

  • It last for 20 minutes to an hour 
  • It emits purple hues
  • It can be spotted overhead approximately 5-10 degrees father south in the Northern hemisphere, so can be spotted at similar latitudes to Calgary, Canada

Liz MacDonald, a space scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement:

This is a light display that we can observe over thousands of kilometers from the ground.

It corresponds to something happening way out in space. Gathering more data points on STEVE will help us understand more about its behavior and its influence on space weather.

You can send any photos or information about Steve to Nasa here.

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