Atmospheric electric fields during the Carrington flare
Alpin, K.L. and Harrison, R.G. (2014) Atmospheric electric fields during the Carrington flare. Astronomy and Geophysics, 55 (5). 5.32-5.37. ISSN 1366-8781
To link to this article DOI: 10.1093/astrogeo/atu218
Karen Aplin and Giles Harrison examine international records of the 1859 Carrington flare and consider what they mean for our understanding of space weather today. Space weather is increasingly recognized as a hazard to modern societies, and one way to assess the extent of its possible impact is through analysis of historic space weather events. One such event was the massive solar storm of late August and early September 1859. This is now widely known as the “Carrington flare” or “Carrington event” after the visual solar emissions on 1 September first reported by the Victorian astronomer Richard Carrington from his observatory in Redhill, Surrey (Carrington 1859). The related aurorae and subsequent effects on telegraph networks are well documented (e.g. Clark 2007, Boteler 2006), but use of modern techniques, such as analysis of nitrates produced by solar protons in ice cores to retrospectively assess the nature of the solar flare, has proved problematic (Wolff et al. 2012). This means that there is still very little quantitative information about the flare beyond magnetic observations (e.g. Viljanen et al. 2014).