Geomagnetic super-storm sets telegraph papers on fire

On September 2, a billion-ton coronal mass ejection slammed into the earth’s magnetic field. The glow awoke campers in the Rockies in the middle of the night, who thought the sun was rising. But no, it was the Northern Lights. People in Cuba were able to read their morning newspaper by the light of aurora borealis, and the earth was peppered by energetic particles.

It all took place exactly 150 years ago.

Map showing where auroras were sighted 2 Sep 1859. Image courtesy J. L. Green, NASA

“As the day unfolded,” says this article on, “the gathering storm electrified telegraph lines, shocking technicians and setting their telegraph papers on fire.

If a similar flare occurred today, it would cause $1 to 2 trillion in damage to our infrastructure and take four to ten years to repair.

And lest today’s low solar activity makes you feel safe, this flare – called the Carrington flare – occurred during a relatively weak solar cycle.

See entire article:

Thanks to Hans Schreuder for this link

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