The annotated version of the visualization (shown above) highlights the GEOS FP model’s output for aerosols on August 23rd, 2018. On that day, wildfires caused huge plumes of smoke to drift over North America and Africa, three tropical cyclones took place in the Pacific Ocean, and high winds over the Sahara caused wind-borne dust particles to fill the sky. All of these produced aerosols which are represented in the visual by different colors.

~ Matt Williams

I’m not sure if I’m more impressed by the beautiful composite photo and the science that went into it, or if I now just want to never inhale again.


Steve is not an aurora

This means that STEVE is not likely to be caused by the same mechanism as an aurora, and is therefore an entirely new type of optical phenomenon – which the team refer to as “skyglow”.

~ Matt Williams from,

Aside: “Steve” started as in-joke reference by some dedicated Aurora photographers. It was later backronymed.

I particular love this type of discovery. Looking at the shape of the visual phenomenon—it’s a straight-ish thin streak—I bet this is realated to certain types of mythologies and stories…