Thursday, March 15, 2018

An Aurora Named Steve

Forces of Nature!
I always said I married a colorful guy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center space physicists have just named a newly discovered part of the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights), and they are calling this phenomenon “Steve.” Steve can be seen further to the south than the rest of his eerily glowing counterpart. I don’t find my spouse to be “eerily” glowing, but otherwise I see a resemblance.

This is just the latest in an escalating series of natural events that are given human names. Remember when only hurricanes were called “Gloria” or “Hugo”? Now EVERY unusual happening boasts a different name. Superstorm Sandy! Winter Storm Skylar (Sky-lar. Get it? I like that one!) and so on. I suppose these monickers make them more “special” (think your local weathercaster writing Thunderstorm Gus!!! on the weather map—perhaps with a frowny face). It’s all about the branding these days, whereas back in the Mesozoic Era that was my childhood, rain was rain and snow was snow and that was the extent of it.

As I have a number of rather animated guys and gals in my immediate family, I thought I’d do the National Weather Service a favor, and go ahead and name upcoming disturbances in the field after my loved ones! Here goes:

Volcano Sheridan: Sher is placid on the surface, but bubbling with inspiration and creativity underneath. When he erupts at last, thousands of musical notes cascade down into the valley below. Beware of molten concerti, people!

Earthquake Evan: Ev is on the West Coast now, so this is extra-fitting. Amid the rumblings of national political unrest, all at once the earth is shaken with new possibilities. San Andreas? You are not at fault! It’s Evan’s Congressional candidate Gil Cisneros! Whoo hoo!

Tsunami Rose: She just missed a very big one before her arrival in Thailand in 2005. As the tide receded, unsuspecting folks ventured back into the water, then whammo! And our lovely Rose still likes to catch us all off guard!

Heatwave Patrick: He was baptized on the hottest day of 1991, and sweated through multiple sports over the years. He’s an executive chef now, enduring the restaurant kitchen’s sky-high temps. For Pat, every workday’s another scorcher!

Blizzard Julie: Gentle as a softly falling blanket of snow—until it hits you that this blanket is three feet deep. Julie’s effect is slow but steady. Note: Julie will also rescue you from the drifts, because Julie.

Tornado Ya-Jhu: NO one can power through a house cleaning, or a meal making, or a song cycle writing, like our Yaj! The trick is to batten down the hatches, enjoy the ride, and not get swept away.

Aiden and Peter are a little young to be meteorologically labeled yet, but I’m sure something significant will bear their names someday.

And me? Hailstorm (crazy, mixed up, ice pellets on a warm day) probably fits.

 This is fun! Monsoon? Cyclone? I can christen it! Bring on that weather event, Mother Nature!

Steve! (Photo from National Geographic)

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