This captivating 2019 $20 fine silver coin captures the magic of a rare natural phenomena that creates a spectacular light show of colour in the night sky. The effect known as “Steve” appears as a thin arc of light like a violet pathway to the heavens and comes to life on this collector coin using neon glow technology. The unusual name was created by members of the Alberta Aurora Chasers. It started out as a light-hearted reference to the 2006 animated movie Over the Hedge in which a character named an unknown object “Steve.” A physicist later proposed the acronym STEVE for “Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement,” which is how the phenomenon has come to be known. The mintage of just 5,000 pieces adds significantly to its collectability. GST/HST exempt.
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.
While the aurora borealis can appear in the north whenever the sky is clear and dark, “Steve” is thought to occur just a few times each year. This bright band of gas occurs separately from the aurora; it typically stretches in an east-west direction over hundreds of kilometres and may be visible in the sky for up to an hour.