Dr. Tony Phillips is a professional astronomer and science writer, best known for his authorship of the always excellent spaceweather.com. Below is a shortened version of his article from Sept 1, 2020 entitled: A WARNING FROM HISTORY–THE CARRINGTON EVENT WAS NOT UNIQUE.
On Sept. 1st, 1859, the most ferocious solar storm in recorded history engulfed our planet. It was “the Carrington Event,” named 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, and wrote itself into history books as the Biggest. Solar. Storm. Ever.
But, sometimes, what you read in history books is wrong.
“The Carrington Event was not unique,” says Hisashi Hayakawa of Japan’s Nagoya University, whose recent study of solar storms has uncovered other events of comparable intensity. “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.”
Many previous studies of solar superstorms leaned heavily on Western Hemisphere accounts, omitting data from the Eastern Hemisphere.
A good example is the great storm of mid-September 1770, when extremely bright red auroras blanketed Japan and parts of China. Captain Cook himself saw the display from near Timor Island, south of Indonesia.
Hayakawa and colleagues recently found drawings of the instigating sunspot, and it is twice the size of the Carrington sunspot group — paintings, dairy entries, and other newfound records, especially from China, depict some of the lowest-latitude auroras ever, spread over a period of 9 days.
“We conclude that the 1770 magnetic storm was comparable to the Carrington Event, at least in terms of auroral visibility,” wrote Hayakawa and colleagues in a 2017 Astrophysical Journal Letter. Moreover, “the duration of the storm activity was much longer than usual.”
Hayakawa’s team has delved into the history of other storms as well, examining Japanese diaries, Chinese and Korean government records, archives of the Russian Central Observatory, and log-books from ships at sea–all helping to form a more complete picture of events.
They found that superstorms in February 1872 and May 1921 were also comparable to the Carrington Event, with similar magnetic amplitudes and widespread auroras: “This is likely happening much more often than previously thought,” says Hayakawa.
We are overdue for another Carrington-style Event.
In fact, we likely just missed one.
In July 2012, NASA and European spacecraft watched an extreme solar storm erupt from the sun and narrowly miss Earth: “If it had hit,” announced Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado; “we would still be picking up the pieces.”
A modern-day Carrington Event would cause widespread power outages along with disruptions to navigation, air travel, banking, and all forms of digital communication. And one is coming, probably in line with the Sun’s ramp-up into Solar Cycle 25. Because while most solar physicists are calling for SC25 to be historically weak, during the cycle’s build towards its maximum –expected mid-2025– the release violent solar flares and powerful coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is still possible.
Furthermore, and in a deeply unfortunate ‘double-whammy’, our planet’s magnetic field is waning and has been doing so since 1850. Earth’s magnetosphere is our protection against space weather, and in line with the coming magnetic excursion/reversal/pole shift (coupled with an intensifying GSM) this rapid waning has increased ten-fold over recent years:
The year 2023 is the current favorite for the next Carrington Event.
But time will tell.
One thing is more certain, however — as Dr Phillips concludes:
“History books, let the re-write begin”.
The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING; in line with historically low solar activity, cloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow; and both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Prepare for the COLD— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift
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