Extra Shop Talk for October

We have an extra Shop Talk this month that takes advantage of a visit by Dr. Dolores J. Knipp, a former student in the Old Professor’s department at UCLA and now a professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder and before that at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The title of her talk is “How the Great Solar Storm of 1967 Nearly Started WW III”. This is the story of how, on May 23, 1967, the US Air Force began preparing for war, thinking the USSR had jammed American surveillance radars. But military space-weather forecasters intervened telling top officials that a powerful solar eruption was to blame. Had we not had in place by then capability to observe and forecast such storms, its impact could have been very great indeed. Dr. Knipp will describe the event, its geopolitical context, and its military repercussions.

A YouTube video of the talk is here.

One thought on “Extra Shop Talk for October

  1. Other major solar storms in history include the great storm of August/September 1859, which disrupted telegraph communication worldwide and sent the northern lights as far south as Mexico and Cuba. This is the best globally documented storm in history. It was initiated by a solar flare so bright it was seen against the brightness of the sun without filters now used to dim background light. In fact, this was the first solar flare ever observed. The person that reported it is an Englishman named Richard Carrington who carried out regular solar observations for many years. The story of this storm and life of Richard Carrington is told in the book “The Sun Kings” by Stuart Clark.

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