Citizen Science, Auroras and STEVE

It was early last summer when Leah Mallin and Jess Fraser contacted me about participating in the upcoming documentary they were filming called “Chasing Steve”. This documentary-style film funded by Telus, portrays 12 Alberta Aurora Chasers and University of Calgary’s Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Eric Donovan and NASA scientist Elizabeth McDonald and the story behind how Alberta Aurora Chaser admin Chris Ratzlaff was able to encourage scientific attention to this new “discovery” in the night sky, sub auroal arcs (STEVE). STEVE, which stands for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement has been photographed many times by Alberta sky watchers, and I was thrilled to take the film crew out to Dinosaur Provincial Park for a beautiful fall day filming my segment for the film.  The work that went into this film was incredible- the producers traveled all over Alberta to interview a wide sampling of aurora chasers involved with citizen science, and truly captured the wonderful passion we all feel for the Northern Lights and this phenomenon, STEVE. 

“Chasing Steve is a short documentary about a group of passionate night sky photographers who have stumbled on a celestial phenomenon not formerly studied by scientists and have captured the world’s scientific community’s attention. They humorously named this band of light “Steve” and now astrophysicists worldwide are studying what it could be.”

citizen science

Chasing Steve has been entered in a variety of film festivals, and has been screened at the Jasper Dark Sky Festival 2019, in Edmonton at the Edmonton Science Centre, and is planned for screening at an upcoming University of Calgary sponsored event.  The film is also available on demand on Telus Optik,Canada wide.  We were pleased to screen Chasing Steve at the 2019 Aurora Summit to an enthusiastic audience of aurora lovers and astrophotographers. Proof that citizen science can make an active contribution to the scientific community!

You can check out the trailer (and download the film) here!

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