Digitized continuous magnetic recordings for the August/September 1859 storms from London, UK

Beggan, C.D.; Clarke, E.; Lawrence, E.; Eaton, E.; Williamson, J.; Matsumoto, K.; Hayakawa, H.. 2024 Digitized continuous magnetic recordings for the August/September 1859 storms from London, UK. Space Weather, 22 (3), e2023SW003807.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
Text (Open Access Paper)
Space Weather - 2024 - Beggan - Digitized Continuous Magnetic Recordings for the August September 1859 Storms From London .pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (3MB) | Preview


Dedicated scientific measurements of the strength and direction of the Earth's magnetic field began at Greenwich and Kew observatories in London, United Kingdom, in the middle of the nineteenth century. Using advanced techniques for the time, collimated light was focussed onto mirrors mounted on free-swinging magnetized needles which reflected onto photographic paper, allowing continuous analog magnetograms to be recorded. By good fortune, both observatories were in full operation during the so-called Carrington storm in early September 1859 and its precursor storm in late August 1859. Based on digital images of the magnetograms and information from the observatory yearbooks and scientific papers, it is possible to scale the measurements to International System of Units (SI units) and extract quasi-minute cadence spot values. However, due to the magnitude of the storms, the periods of the greatest magnetic field variation were lost as the traces moved off-page. We present the most complete digitized magnetic records to date of the 10-day period from 25 August to 5 September 1859 encompassing the Carrington storm and its lesser recognized precursor on 28 August. We demonstrate the good correlation between observatories and estimate the instantaneous rate of change of the magnetic field.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: Carrington storm; September 1859, Greenwich, Kew
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 04 Mar 2024 15:17 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...