The 1870 Space Weather Event from South-west Europe

Vaquero J.M., Valente M.A., Trigo R.M., Ribeiro P., Gallego M.C.
Journal of Geophysical Reseach - Space Physics , 113, A08230

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The great solar storm that took place on 24-25 October 1870 is not well known and has been almost absent from previous studies. In this work, a large amount of information that was registered at the time is compiled and analyzed, including early geomagnetic data and several comprehensive descriptions of the auroras observed during these two nights. These descriptions reveal unusual characteristics for a typical lowlatitude aurora. For example, unlike most low-latitude auroras (generally red and diffuse), this event was mostly characterized by a variable palette of colors, including greenish and white. The geomagnetic records analyzed from Lisbon and Coimbra (Portugal), Greenwich (United Kingdom), Munich (Germany), and Helsinki (Finland) clearly show an intense geomagnetic disturbance on 24-25 October. The Coimbra magnetograms reveal that this disturbance consisted of two distinct geomagnetic storms, the first on 24 October (with amplitudes of 370 in D and 182 nT and 48 nT in H and Z, respectively), and the second on 25 October (with amplitudes of 330 in D and 281 nT and 192 nT in H and Z, respectively). Finally, from early photographic solar observations made during 1870, we have identified a long-lived group of sunspots that are most likely related to the solar source of this great event of space weather.