Alerting the world to the mysteries and dangers of Coronal Mass Ejections

Carrington Event

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.

7 Responses

  • Do you know of any research done or being done on effects on the biosphere when subjected to CME’s such as the Carrington Event. Either short-term or long term.

    Robert Skinner, Advanced Placement Environmental Science instructor, Jurupa Hills High School, Fontana, CA.



  • John says:

    Is there a more technical information book or website that describes the best way to
    protect my solar system. I need to know how to protect my utility room with my inverter
    charge controller and batteries inside?

  • Bob O'Leary says:

    Keep me in the loop

  • If i may make a suggestion.
    by reading below from Nasa . You can be warned about a massive solar flare by using their filters to be forewarned.
    and avoid all the small minor insignificant solar events etc.
    If you website offered an automated follow up email service for this as well that would be a very practical service..
    If you have not signed up for our Product Subscription Service yet, you can start here:
    Once you have signed up, you can go in and filter the different products that will notify (email) you of potential geomagnetic activity. First, go here:
    Subscribe (add or change subscription preferences) Then go to theGeomagnetic Storm Products section. Here is where you will actually select the products you wish to receive.
    Since you are primarily interested in only the largest events, I would suggest only subscribing to the G5 Watches/Warnings/Alerts. This should eliminate notification for all but the largest geomagnetic storms. There are always exceptions, so if you want to subscribe to the G4 alerts as well, feel free.
    You can also subscribe to our Radio (R4-R5) alerts as well. This will let you know if we have a good sized x-ray flare, which has the potential to send a coronal mass ejection towards earth large enough/strong enough to cause possible Carrington impacts.

    Unfortunately, I doubt there will ever be a phone notification for these events (at least not in the near future). We just don’t have the infrastructure nor budget to produce several million simultaneous phone calls.

    Let us know if you have any questions or have difficulties subscribing.
    SWPC Customer Support

    Real-time solar flare detection now online

    On June 11, 2013, the State of Maine passed the first legislation in the nation to protect the electric grid against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and geomagnetic disturbance (GMD). EMP’s, such as high-altitude nuclear explosions, and GMD’s, such as major solar flares and storms, have the potential to critically disrupt or destroy the electric grid. In March 1989, a moderate solar storm hit Quebec, Canada, causing a province-wide blackout that cost two billion dollars in direct damage, and scattered effects throughout the northeast United States. The Maine legislation that I sponsored, LD 131, “Directing the Public Utilities Commission To Examine Measures To Mitigate the Effects of Geomagnetic Disturbances and Electromagnetic Pulse on the State’s Transmission System,” passed unanimously in the House and 32-3 in the Senate. Tell your senator or State agency..

  • henry says:

    I am viewing again footage which appears to be a celestial object captured in Suns’ orbit , with a periodicity

  • henry says:

    CME’s are seen as a consistent event coupled with a new object that is in a tight orbit .
    Could this be a trigger for the overdue Carrington Event ?
    –We now have solar imaging in 3 d, do we not ?

    I have no technical background in the science of planetary mechanics. This video, however, and the presentation based on a scientist and imaged by Scott is the result of a closely tracked subject months long, where CME events are triggering deeper earthquakes.

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