2 Sep: Solar Explosion!

The Carrington Event – the largest solar storm in recorded history – occurred on 2nd September, 1859. Although its effects would later be felt by millions around the world, it had initially only been spotted by one amateur, British astronomer: Richard Carrington.

What he’d witnessed was a giant Coronal Mass Ejection – a significant release of plasma and accompanying magnetic field from the Sun’s corona into the heliosphere. If repeated today, it could bring down satellites and cause city-wide blackouts across the globe.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly investigate the melting of telegraph lines; predict a cataclysmic future caused by CMEs; and pause to look at how beautiful it all is and how insignificant we all are… 

Further Reading:

• ‘A Perfect Solar Superstorm: The 1859 Carrington Event’ (HISTORY, 2012): https://www.history.com/news/a-perfect-solar-superstorm-the-1859-carrington-event

• ‘The Sun Kings – The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began’ by Stuart Clark (Princeton University Press, 2009): https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/The_Sun_Kings/EhG_DwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=carrington+event+end+of+the+world&printsec=frontcover

• ‘Solar storms: more dangerous than you think. Can we survive another Carrington Event?’ (The Why Files, 2022):