This 1940 solar storm was so severe that it blew apart metal wires; Know all about this 'Sunspot Tornado’

The most recent example of a solar storm damaging Earth’s infrastructure occurred in February 2022 when some of the Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX crashed under the drag of energetic particles in the upper atmosphere. However, this was nothing compared to the storm that hit Earth in March 1940. The solar storm was so powerful that it blew out metal wires due to excessive static electricity and disrupted telephone lines and telegraph services for 5 hours. The New York Times called it a 'sunspot hurricane’, and it’s an example of what happens when a solar storm really shows its fury. Bye.

A step Report Via SpaceWeather.com, “On March 24, 1940, a solar storm hit Earth that blasted copper wires in the United States with 800 volts of electricity. A New York Times headline announced that a „Sunspot Tornado” had arrived, damaging any signal that had to travel through metal wires”. The report also included a newspaper article from the day, which highlighted that short-wave communications, police and press teletypes were also affected during the story.

Terrible solar storm in 1940

The storm was so intense that it was so active for several hours that it disabled all forms of long-distance communication. Also, more than one million phones and telephones were reported to have been affected during the storm. In fact, the accumulation of static charge was so great near the surface level that copper and other metal wires began to explode on impact.

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Such a storm would damage large satellites today, disrupt GPS and mobile networks, disrupt power grids, and even disrupt ground-based electronics.

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If this storm is so powerful, it begs the question, how come we don’t hear about it like we do about the Carrington event or the Halloween solar storm? The answer has to do with history. In 1940, World War II was underway and America was about to jump into action. So, it is not surprising that such a minor inconvenience is not on people’s minds.

If you thought such a solar storm wouldn’t happen today, you’d be wrong. Just this year, we saw two CME clouds carrying enough charge to spark a similar storm. But thankfully, none of them move the Earth.

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