Evidence of the largest known solar storm has been uncovered by researchers.
Experts believe they have pinpointed the dates of a solar storm so powerful that it beat out the Carrington event of 1859.
This solar storm, which happened sometime between 774 和 775 CE, was reportedly more than ten times as powerful as the Carrington event, 根据一个 报告 by Big Think.
To put this solar storm’s intensity into perspective, experts shared some accounts from the less-powerful Carrington event.
During that occurence, people reported that there were worldwide auroral displays, some so bright that newspapers could be read by their light.
Electrical systems, such as telegraphs, began sparking and igniting fires, even when they were unplugged from power sources.
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And many miners awoke in the middle of the night thinking it was dawn.
The trees tell a story
While scientists have had an idea about the solar storm of 774 CE since 2012, they only recently found concrete evidence of it existence by analyzing tree rings.
Ancient cedar trees produce a new set of rings in their trunks every year that contain a sort of carbon footprint.
If a tree was growing at the time of such a sun storm, it would manifest as rings with dramatically increased levels of C-14, an isotope of carbon.
Using a universal tree database, researchers uncovered that from 774 到 775, the carbon-14 content increased by 12 百分, and did so all at once.
Ethan Seigal, reporting for Big Think, expanded: “This ‘spike’ 是关于 20 times as large as any other natural variations that were seen to occur on year-to-year timescales, and was quickly confirmed to exist in other places around the world.”
“Other trees from around the world, including in Germany, 俄罗斯, New Zealand and even North America also showed this same spike, indicating that the carbon-14 spike was a worldwide phenomenon.”
This data indicates strong solar activity, on a global scale.
What are solar flares?
A solar fare is an eruption of intense high-energy radiation from the sun’s surface.
When solar flares hit Earth’s magnetic field, they are called ‘solar storms’.
This event can cause geomagnetic storms that affect our satellites and the power grid.
Each solar storm that hits Earth is graded by severity.
Some cause radio blackouts and can pose a threat to astronauts on the ISS.