The Carrington Event: A Historic Solar Flare with Modern Implications

TLDR In 1859, astronomers witnessed the first recorded solar flare in history, known as the Carrington event. This event, characterized by unusual aurora activity and a massive geomagnetic storm, has the potential to cause worldwide power surges and long-term damage to electrical grids and communication networks if it were to occur today.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 In September 1859, astronomers Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson observed a phenomenon on the Sun that had never been seen before, which is now known as the Carrington event.
01:51 Astronomers Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson observed the first recorded solar flare in human history, which was preceded by unusual aurora activity and followed by a massive geomagnetic storm that caused strange phenomena such as bright auroras, birds chirping at 1 a.m., and a deep red sky.
03:31 In 1859, the observatory in London detected a large magnetic disturbance that coincided with the solar flare observed by Carrington, suggesting a possible connection between magnetic disturbances and solar activity.
05:06 In 1859, a massive coronal mass injection from the Sun caused electrical currents to flow through telegraph wires, leading to damage and injuries in North America and Europe.
06:45 A Carrington-level event has the potential to cripple the modern world by causing a giant worldwide power surge that could take down most satellites, electrical grids, and communication networks, and it would take years to rebuild.
08:26 In the event of a Carrington-level event, institutions would have about 3 to 5 days to shut down power grids and communication networks to avoid long-term damage, but most infrastructure currently has no protection against such an event.
09:58 The aftermath of a Carrington-type event will depend on our preparation, which could happen anytime from now to centuries in the future.
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