A Warning from History: The Carrington Event Was Not Unique

It may not even have been the biggest one in recent centuries, and the Quebec Blackout of 1989 wasn’t far behind in intensity.

Spaceweather.com

Sept. 1, 2020: On Sept. 1st, 1859, the most ferocious solar storm in recorded history engulfed our planet. Named “the Carrington event” after British scientist Richard Carrington, who witnessed the flare that started it, the storm rocked Earth’s magnetic field, sparked auroras over Cuba, the Bahamas and Hawaii, set fire to telegraph stations in North America, and wrote itself into history books as the Biggest. Solar. Storm. Ever.

But sometimes what you read in history books is wrong. Modern researchers looking into the Carrington Event are coming to new and different conclusions.

“The Carrington Event was not unique,” says Hisashi Hayakawa of Japan’s Nagoya University, whose recent study of solar storms has uncovered at least two other events of comparable intensity (in 1872 and 1921). “While the Carrington Event has long been considered a once‐in‐a‐century catastrophe, historical observations warn us that this may be something that occurs much more frequently.”

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August 31, 2020 at 07:33AM

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