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Observations of Low Latitude Red Aurora in Mexico During the 1859 Carrington Geomagnetic Storm
  • J. Americo Gonzalez-Esparza,
  • Consuelo Cuevas-Cardona
J. Americo Gonzalez-Esparza

Corresponding Author:americo@igeofisica.unam.mx

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Consuelo Cuevas-Cardona
Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo
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On 1 September 1859, occurred one of the most intense geomagnetic storm that has been documented in recent history. This storm is known as the Carrington Event. On the morning September 1st at around 11:15 UT, Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson observed in England, independently and for the first time, an intense white light solar flare. About 17 hours after this solar event, occurred the strongest geomagnetic perturbation ever recorded as well as a greatly extended red aurora, which covered unusually low latitudes. The red auroral display on September 2nd was reported in regions where this kind of phenomena are very rare, like in Cuba and Hawaii. Until now however, it was not known to scientists that the low latitude red aurora also registered in Mexico. At that time, Mexico was in a civil war, and there were very difficult conditions in which to establish astronomical and magnetic observatories. Nevertheless, the geomagnetic storm was observed with a maximum of intensity between 7:00-8:00 UTC and re- ported to a Mexican newspaper from five different locations (Mexico City, Queretaro, Guadalajara, Hidalgo, and Guanajuato) and registered also from at least in two additional sites (Michoacan and San Luis Potosı) in other historical documents. These records confirm that the Carrington geomagnetic storm was a global event with planetary repercussions, and that the Mexican low latitude region is susceptible to significant effects associated with intense space weather events.
Dec 2018Published in Space Weather volume 16 issue 12 on pages 2038-2051. 10.1029/2018SW001995