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, 31 (3), 104-9

Astronomical Fire: Richard Carrington and the Solar Flare of 1859

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Astronomical Fire: Richard Carrington and the Solar Flare of 1859

Stuart Clark. Endeavour.

Abstract

An explosion on the Sun in 1859, serendipitously witnessed by amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, plunged telegraphic communications into chaos and bathed two thirds of the Earth's skies in aurorae. Explaining what happened to the Sun and how it could affect Earth, 93 million miles away, helped change the direction of astronomy. From being concerned principally with charting the stars to aid navigation, astronomers became increasingly concerned with what the celestial objects were, how they behaved and how they might affect life on Earth.

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