Friday, 3 July 2009


Wikipedia yes:
The solar storm of 1859, also known as the Solar Superstorm, or the Carrington Event, is the most powerful solar storm in recorded history.

From August 28 until September 2, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun. Just before noon on September 1, the British astronomer, Richard Carrington, observed the largest flare, which caused a massive coronal mass ejection (CME), to travel directly toward Earth, taking eighteen hours. This is remarkable because such a journey normally takes three to four days. It moved so quickly because an earlier CME had cleared its way.

During The solar storm of 1893, 2/3 of the world watched lights in the sky much like the aurorae in the polar regions, but much bigger. Much bigger.

Brilliant stealing-stuff-off-the-radio-so-you-can-actually-listen-to-it blog Speechfication has a full Radio 3 program HERE! HERE! HERE!

Question is, could it ever happen again? And when it knocks out all the power, what then?? From New Scientist magazine:
First to go - immediately for some people - is drinkable water. Anyone living in a high-rise apartment, where water has to be pumped to reach them, would be cut off straight away. For the rest, drinking water will still come through the taps for maybe half a day. With no electricity to pump water from reservoirs, there is no more after that.
Uh-oh, etc...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


The Guardian reports that researchers have found an area of deep space which smells of raspberries and tastes of rum, or tastes of rum and smells of raspberries - I've already forgotten which.



Warning: The following excerpt contains the phrase "space raspberries":

'In the latest survey, astronomers sifted through thousands of signals from Sagittarius B2, a vast dust cloud at the centre of our galaxy. While they failed to find evidence for amino acids, they did find a substance called ethyl formate, the chemical responsible for the flavour of raspberries.

'"It does happen to give raspberries their flavour, but there are many other molecules that are needed to make space raspberries," Arnaud Belloche, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, told the Guardian.'

Saturday, 11 April 2009