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On September 1 - 2, 1859, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred.

 

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The solar storm of 1859, also known as the 1859 Solar Superstorm, or the Carrington Event, was a powerful solar storm in 1859 during solar cycle 10. It produced the largest known solar flare, which was observed and recorded by Richard C. Carrington. 
From August 28, 1859, until September 2, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun.

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Title: Revisiting the Carrington Event: Updated modelling of atmospheric effects
Authors: Brian C. Thomas, Keith R. Arkenberg, Brock R. Snyder II (Washburn University)

The terrestrial effects of major solar events such as the Carrington white-light flare and subsequent geomagnetic storm of August-September 1859 are of considerable interest, especially in light of recent predictions that such extreme events will be more likely over the coming decades. Here we present results of modelling the atmospheric effects, especially production of odd nitrogen compounds and subsequent depletion of ozone, by solar protons associated with the Carrington event. This study combines approaches from two previous studies of the atmospheric effect of this event. We investigate changes in NOy compounds as well as depletion of O3 using a two-dimensional atmospheric chemistry and dynamics model. Atmospheric ionisation is computed using a range-energy relation with four different proxy proton spectra associated with more recent well-known solar proton events. We find that changes in atmospheric constituents are in reasonable agreement with previous studies, but effects of the four proxy spectra used vary more widely than found by one of those studies. In particular, we find greater impact for harder proton spectra, given a constant total fluence. We report computed nitrate deposition values and compare to measured values in ice cores. Finally, we briefly investigate the impact of the modelled ozone depletion on surface-level solar ultraviolet radiation.

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Carrington Event
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On September 1 - 2, 1859, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred. From August 28 until September 2, 1859, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the Sun, the largest flare occurring on September 1. This is referred to as the 1859 solar superstorm or the the Carrington Event. It can be assumed that a massive Coronal mass ejection (CME), associated with the flare, was launched from the Sun and reached the Earth within eighteen hours - a trip that normally takes three to four days. The horizontal intensity of geomagnetic field was reduced by 1600 nT as recorded by the Colaba observatory near Bombay, India. It is estimated that Dst would have been approximately -1750 nT.
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Huge solar storm could hit Earth again
On Sept. 2, 1859, an incredible storm of charged particles sent by the sun slammed into Earth's atmosphere, overpowered it, and caused havoc on the ground. Telegraph wires, the high-tech stuff of the time, suddenly shorted out in the United States and Europe, igniting widespread fires. Colorful aurora, normally visible only in polar regions, were seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii.


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The solar storm of 1859, also known as the Solar Superstorm, or the Carrington Event, was the most powerful solar storm in recorded history.
From August 28 until September 2, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun. Just before noon on September 1, the British astronomer, Richard Carrington, observed the largest flare, which caused a massive coronal mass ejection (CME), to travel directly toward Earth, taking 18 hours.

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