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Eyewitness Reports of the Great Auroral Storm of 1859The great geomagnetic storm of 1859 is really composed of two closely spaced massive worldwide auroral events. The first event began on August 28th and the second began on September 2nd. It is the storm on September 2nd that results from the Carrington-Hodgson white light flare that occurred on the sun September l&. In addition to published scientific measurements; newspapers, ship logs and other records of that era provide an untapped wealth of first hand observations giving time and location along with reports of the auroral forms and colors. At its height, the aurora was described as a blood or deep crimson red that was so bright that one "could read a newspaper by." Several important aspects of this great geomagnetic storm are simply phenomenal. Auroral forms of all types and colors were observed to latitudes of 25deg and lower. A significant portion of the world's 125,000 miles of telegraph lines were also adversely affected. Many of - which were unusable for 8 hours or more and had a small but notable economic impact. T h s paper presents only a select few available first hand accounts of the Great Auroral Event of 1859 in an attempt to give the modern reader a sense of how this spectacular display was received by the public from many places around the globe and present some other important historical aspects of the storm.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Green, James L.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Boardsen, Scott
(L-3 Communications Analytics Corp. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Odenwald, Sten
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Humble, John
(Tasmania Univ. Hobart, Australia)
Pazamickas, Katherine A.
(Lycoming Coll. Williamsport, PA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
August 5, 2005
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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