[Not single-page] Reliving the “Carrington Event,” a solar storm that disrupted the U.S. telegraph system and lit up the sky in late August 1859:

The night of Carrington’s discovery, the electrical hurricane that had swept the globe peaked. The Great Auroral Storm had actually begun several days earlier with a similar incident on August 28, but it was Carrington and another astronomer, Richard Hodgson, who identified one of the solar flares that enveloped the earth in a week-long magnetic maelstrom. Because of their work, the episode was dubbed the ‘Carrington Event,’ and it consumed the world’s attention for the week.

In New York City, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago, thousands of sky gazers wandered about the midnight streets, astounded at what they could see. ‘Crowds of people gathered at the street corners, admiring and commenting upon the singular spectacle,’ observed the New Orleans Daily Picayune. When the September 1 aurora ‘was at its greatest brilliancy, the northern heavens were perfectly illuminated,’ wrote a reporter for The New York Times.

“1859’s ‘Great Auroral Storm’—The Week the Sun Touched the Earth.” — Matthew Lasar, Ars Technica

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