The 1859 geomagnetic superstorm
James Green, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and S. Boardsen, S. Odenwald, and E. Cliver
We have rank ordered geomagnetic storms from 1859 to the present using: the magnetic crochet amplitude, SEP fluence, Sun-Earth disturbance transit time, storm intensity, and low-latitude auroral extent. The top-ranking events in each of the disturbance categories comprise a set of benchmarks for extreme space weather. While the 1859 event has close rivals in each of the categories it is near the top on all of the lists. A closer look at the 1859 super storm should provide some measure of the upper bounds of a super storm. The great geomagnetic storm of 1859 extended over a period from August 28 through to September 3. In addition to scientific measurements, newspapers of that era provided an untapped wealth of first hand observations giving time and location along with reports of the auroral forms and colors. The evolution of the aurora over the great storm period will be shown and is accomplished by combining the observations from many available sources in 30-minute intervals. A significant portion of the world's 140,000 miles of telegraph lines were unusable for a number of hours. At its height, the aurora was described as blood red and was so bright that one could read a newspaper by its light. The extent of the aurora was so great that it was reported by sailors on ships in the Gulf of Panama. .
Session 4, ALL ASPECTS OF SPACE WEATHER WITH A PREFERENCE FOR THOSE THAT ADDRESS "IMPACTS": Part 3
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM, A406
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