South American auroral reports during the Carrington storm

Hisashi Hayakawa, José R. Ribeiro, Yusuke Ebihara, Ana P. Correia, Mitsuru Sôma
2020 Earth, Planets and Space  
The importance of the investigation of magnetic superstorms is not limited to academic interest, because these superstorms can cause catastrophic impact on the modern civilisation due to our increasing dependency on technological infrastructure. In this context, the Carrington storm in September 1859 is considered as a benchmark of observational history owing to its magnetic disturbance and equatorial extent of the auroral oval. So far, several recent auroral reports at that time have been
more » ... shed but those reports are mainly derived from the Northern Hemisphere. In this study, we analyse datable auroral reports from South America and its vicinity, assess the auroral extent using philological and astrometric approaches, identify the auroral visibility at - 17.3 magnetic latitude and further poleward and reconstruct the equatorial boundary of the auroral oval to be 25.1 +/- 0.5 in invariant latitude. Interestingly, brighter and more colourful auroral displays were reported in the South American sector than in the Northern Hemisphere. This north-south asymmetry is presumably associated with variations of their magnetic longitude and the weaker magnetic field over South America compared to the magnetic conjugate point and the increased amount of magnetospheric electron precipitation into the upper atmosphere. These results attest that the magnitude of the Carrington storm indicates that its extent falls within the range of other superstorms, such as those that occurred in May 1921 and February 1872, in terms of the equatorial boundary of the auroral oval.
doi:10.1186/s40623-020-01249-4 fatcat:zfn7xecr6bda5aaorq2wckem3q