Robert McNees Profile picture
Sep 1, 2018 7 tweets 3 min read
The first solar flare observations were made #OTD in 1859 by Carrington & Hodgson, preceding one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record. Both amateur astronomers made their observations independently, and published them simultaneously in MNRAS.
adsbit.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-ia…
The solar storm that followed was one of the most intense on record. Auroras were reported all over the world and there were mass telegraph outages. Currents induced in the telegraph lines were strong enough to melt contacts, shock operators, and set some kinds of paper on fire.
A “Carrington-class” solar storm occurred in 2012, but the coronal mass ejection from that one just missed the Earth.
Image: NASA/STEREO
At some point it will happen again, and it won’t miss. But the infrastructure we rely on now is much more susceptible than it was in 1889. The National Academy of Sciences says the economic impact of a modern-day 'Carrington Event' could top $2 trillion.
science.nasa.gov/science-news/s…
As global disasters go, it will be one of the prettier ones. The aurora will be dazzling and bright enough for you to read a book by; birds will think day is here. But telecoms will be down for a while, and there’s a pretty good chance your power grid will collapse.
Image: NAS
A great post by @BadAstronomer, from a few years back, on the near-miss in 2012.
slate.com/blogs/bad_astr…
Anyway, happy Saturday evening!

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More from @mcnees

Oct 8, 2018
Good afternoon.
Happy Dogtober.
Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” but it’s a poodle.
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Oct 7, 2018
The physicist Niels Bohr was born #OTD in 1885. He applied Planck’s new ideas about quanta to develop the first modern model of atomic structure in 1913, which motivated the development of quantum mechanics over the next few decades.
Inage: Atomic Heritage Foundation
Here’s a thread from last year about the historical context for his model, and how it set physicists on the path to quantum mechanics.
A story about Bohr. In 1939, Rosenfeld told the Princeton Physics Journal Club about his work with Bohr on fission, after Meitner & Frisch's discovery but before its publication. Bohr quickly wrote a letter to Nature asserting priority of Meitner & Frisch. nature.com/articles/14333…
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Oct 5, 2018
Jason Van Dyke found guilty of 2nd degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
All 16 counts of aggravated battery. One for each shot.
Not guilty of Official Misconduct, apparently?
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Oct 4, 2018
Koba & Takeda submitted their paper "Radiation Reaction in Collision Processes, III" to the journal Progress of Theoretical Physics #OTD in 1948. It described a method for calculating certain quantities in quantum electrodynamics via "transition diagrams." academic.oup.com/ptp/article/4/…
Their paper was submitted just two days before Freeman Dyson's ground-breaking article on Feynman diagrams was submitted to Physical Review. The approaches are very similar, as was clear to all three scientists!
Upon learning of their results, Dyson amended his own paper to recognize their work. He lamented the effect of the war on the dissemination of important ideas: "The isolation of these Japanese workers has undoubtedly constituted a serious loss to theoretical physics."
Read 4 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
He took out a full page ad in the newspaper demanding the death penalty for five black kids who turned out to be innocent, and still insisted on their guilt even after the real perpetrator confessed.
Here is the ad Trump placed in all four of New York’s major newspapers, months before the end of the trial, when I’d assume presumption of innocence would still apply.
Then in 2014 he *wrote an op-ed* in the Daily News saying they were probably still guilty, even though someone else confessed to the crime.
nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-c…
Read 4 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
Sputnik 1, the first satellite made by humans, was launched into low Earth orbit #OTD in 1957.
Image: NSSDC, NASA
The launch of Sputnik marked the beginning of the Space Age. Here, let a young Jeff Goldblum show you what the mood was like in the Pentagon.
Before young squire Goldblum was warning us about the perils of toying with dinosaur DNA (@SUEtheTrex), he was racing down the hallways of the Pentagon with the latest bit of intel on the threat from above.
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