It appears as a thin arc of light running across the night sky, like a violet pathway to the heavens. The rarity of this nighttime display is enough to take one’s breath away. Featured using neon colour technology, this coin forever showcases the sky phenomenon known as “Steve,” a rare wonder that was discovered right here in Canada!
“Steve” was largely un-documented until 2016, when members of the Alberta Aurora Chasers brought it to the attention of the scientific community. The phenomenon is related to what's known as a sub-auroral ion drift, and it happens when charged particles in the atmosphere flow at extreme speeds. Until recently, it was frequently photographed but little understood. As scientists continue to unravel the mystery of “Steve,” the story of its discovery highlights the contributions made by amateur skywatchers everywhere.
The reverse design by Tony Bianco features a nighttime scene in early fall. Above the engraved lakeside campsite, a touch of neon colour vividly brings the “Steve” phenomenon to life under UV light. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.