Tuesday, April 25, 2017

An Aurora Named Steve

Over the years I've come to the conclusion that I must look like a "Steve." Nobody ever calls me anything else besides my real name, and if somebody can't remember "Scott," "Steve" is always what they guess. Thanks to a group of Canadian aurora borealis enthusiasts, it sounds like I now share my fake name with a mysterious phenomenon lighting up the sky over Canada - a strip of aurora light that these enthusiasts decided to name "Steve."

The story started with a group of Canadians who were enthusiastic about finding and photographing the most stunning displays of the aurora borealis, or northern lights. They formed a Facebook group called Alberta Aurora Chasers to share information about the best and brightest displays. A few years ago, some began to notice that Steve — a strip of light that appeared a bit farther south than the northern lights — was something special.

After that, scientists began to take notice. “The really cool thing about this is the social media providing a nice bridge between the scientific community and these amateurs, who are incredibly talented observers of the night sky,” Dr. Donovan said. He explained that Steve is a strip of ionized gas moving through the air at about four miles per second, with temperatures as high as 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit — as hot as the earth’s core. It is about 16 miles wide and thousands of miles long, flowing from east to west across Canada.

Photographs of the phenomenon, most of which show Steve as a glowing ribbon of neon light, have captivated aurora borealis enthusiasts in Canada and far beyond.

I bring this up here on Augoeides in part because I'm a science enthusiast, and in part because as I see it, this is an example of a "paranormal phenomenon" as I employ the term. It's not "supernatural," but rather an unusual observation that doesn't fit the normal pattern. Scientists know that it's there and know what it's made of, and so far they haven't figured out why it behaves the way it does. But I'm confident that they eventually will.

As I see, the same is true of magical effects. Spell results aren't necessarily as obvious as, say, a glowing strip of light running across the sky - though that would be pretty damn cool to cast. The point is that anybody with a modicum of talent who has done the work should know firsthand that there's something to it. The nature of magick remains an open question, but I'm confident that once we work out consciousness, we'll be close to a definitive explanation.

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