What is the Carrington Event?
Starting August 28th, 1859, for several days, our sun was busy. Astronomers viewed numerous sunspots and evidence of considerable magnetic activity. But, this was only a prelude to much larger ‘events’, starting with a large coronal mass ejection (or CME) which hit earth on September 1st. Just before noon, amateur English astronomers Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson made the first observations of a giant solar flare, the sun then emitted a major CME. With the path cleared of any ambient solar wind by the first CME, the larger second CME reached earth in 17.6 hours later, rather than a more normal 3 or 4 day journey.
On September 2nd 1859, Carrington observed both ionospheric disturbances and extremely high magnetometer readings, leading him to believe there was a solar-terrestrial connection. The results were much more obvious to the whole world. From September 1st through September 2nd, 1859, Aurorae were seen everywhere, even as far south as Cuba; gold miners in the Rocky Mountains awoke hours before sunrise, thinking the sun had risen; the light emitted was so bright that those living in the northeastern US could read their newspapers.
More than the terrestrial light show, the larger second CME induced electrical current in anything conductive: a technology killing event. Thankfully, most of its effects were felt in the only electrical based technology that existed at that time… The telegraph systems in Europe and North America were brought down, with some reports of electrocution and fires spawned around their lines.
Were this event to occur today, the induced current would destroy, perhaps permanently, the American power grid system, shutting down power for years. Water, communications, food delivery, emergency systems, Internet, all supplied power by the grid would cease to function. Some scientists predict even smaller electronic systems, such as those in cars, cell phones, and basically anything with a computer would be damaged or destroyed by the induced current. No developed country would be spared.
Such an event, would devastate the world economy. Worse, many millions would die from starvation, disease, and the ensuing violence erupting from fights over the last morsels of resources available.
Everyday, one or more CME’s are released from the sun. Most never affect the Earth more than producing beautiful auroral displays near the poles, where the Earth’s shield or magnetosphere is weakest. However, every 100 or so years the sun produces a solar super storm, releasing one or more giant, technology killing, CME’s, like those emitted in 1859. Our Earth is long overdue for the next event.
Any day now we will be hit with a solar storm that
will return us back to the Stone Age!” Dr. Carrington Reid,
It is for all these reasons & concerns that CME Research Institute is dedicated to the research of CMEs and their effects on our Earth; warning others about the potential for damage and the preventative measures which can be taken; and the development of early threat systems to afford our precious Earth more advanced knowledge of the next Carrington-sized event, when it does occur.