Solar storms have been occurring on Earth since the planet formed billions of years ago; This is the same phenomenon that can cause internet outages. Such natural events usually occur during the peak of the solar cycle. Every 11 years the Sun goes through a cycle of increasing solar activity. More solar flares and coronal mass ejections occurred in the final stages of this period.

last big event The event that shows the reactions that the Sun can cause during the solar cycle is known as the Carrington Event.When the solar structure unleashed a massive explosion that sent powerful electrical currents to Earth. Many reported at the time that the electrical charge could destroy telegraph systems, cause fires, and even electrocute some line operators.

Civilization has never experienced anything quite like it since; According to scientists, the scenario may change during the solar maximum period, which is expected to occur by 2025; Therefore, an internet outage is only one of the possible scenarios. Similar events have occurred throughout Earth history, but the Carrington Event was the last major event observed by science.

“Last night’s auroral display was so bright after midnight that even ordinary text could be read in its light. It significantly hindered the operation of the telegraph lines and its effects continued until noon today. The auroral flow to the east and west was so regular that operators of the Eastern lines came to this city The sentence “could send messages without using conventional batteries” was published in the Weekly West newspaper during the event.

Scientists have already managed to find several evidence of other, more powerful events that occurred throughout the history of the Earth. For example, about 14,300 years ago, a solar storm left fossil records that revealed a massive explosion in subfossilized trees.

What was the Carrington Event?

The Carrington Event occurred in early September 1859, when a solar storm hit the planet following a large coronal mass ejection (CME) in the Sun’s upper atmosphere.. The storm traveled approximately 50 million kilometers to reach Earth in approximately 17.6 hours.

The event is named after British amateur observer Richard Carrington, who detected the solar storm on September 1, 1859. The entire observation lasted just five minutes, and it took just a day for CME to reach the planet.

In addition to fires, shocks and limitation of communication services at that time, the consequence of the phenomenon was even more impressive for telegraph machine operators. They reported that the equipment continued to not work properly a day after the incident. However, when they removed the batteries, they realized that the devices continued to work due to the electric current caused by CME.

Another impressive effect is Magnificent auroras that can be observed in different parts of the world, such as the south of Cuba, Hawaii and the northernmost part of Chile. According to History, for the first time many people were able to appreciate auroras; Some were even afraid and believed that the end of the world was approaching.

Solar flares are triggered when magnetic energy builds up in the Sun and is released unexpectedly; They usually accompany coronal mass excretions. During a solar storm, electrically charged particles are produced and sent to different parts of space; A 2021 study found that the explosion from the Carrington Event was equivalent to approximately 100 billion one-megaton nuclear bombs.

Storm Carrington and its historical repercussions

If it happened today The Carrington Event could bring down the internet and cause chaos to all networked services online. In a paper published in 2013, scientists suggested that a similar event could lead to massive power outages around the world and cause up to US$2.6 billion in losses to the energy sector.

In another study conducted in 2024, researchers suggest that an event at the level of the Carrington Event will only occur between 100 and 1000 years. Events 10 times more powerful occur every 3000 years, while solar storms 100 times more powerful may occur every 6000 years.

“Extreme solar storms can have major impacts on Earth. Such superstorms can permanently damage transformers on our power grids, causing large, widespread power outages lasting months.. An accurate understanding of our past is crucial if we want to accurately predict our future and reduce potential risks. We still have a lot to learn. Each new discovery not only helps answer existing fundamental questions, but can also generate new questions,” said Tim Heaton, statistician at the University of Leeds (UK).

Did you like the content? So stay up to date with more historical astronomy studies and events like this on TecMundo and take the opportunity to learn what could happen to Earth in the event of a ‘killer’ solar storm.

Source: Tec Mundo

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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