After last week's blog post recapping all the hurricanes the Library Society has weathered in our 263 years here on the Carolina coast, your loyal blogger got to thinking about (and reading about!) storms. Hurricanes like Irene or Hugo or Gracie, come to mind of course. But what about other types storms? Storms that don't even originate on Earth?
September the 1st is a red-letter day in the history of solar storms - giant shockwaves of charged particles ejected from the Sun. These storms interact with Earth's magnetosphere, confusing navigation systems, damaging satellites, sending whales and dolphins off course, and inducing current in electrical wires that can overwhelm power grids. And the worst-ever solar storm in recorded history took place on September 1st 1859.
The Solar Storm of 1859, also called the Carrington Event, traveled from the Sun to the Earth in about 18 hours (normally a trip of four days), and when it hit, it hit big. Aurora borealis were visible as far south as the Caribbean islands. In the middle latitudes, midnight looked as bright as dawn. And the planet's only major electrical grid - the telegraph system - went haywire. Machines shocked their operators, telegraph wires sparked, the paper in the machines caught fire, unplugged telegraphs started spontaneously working... for about three days, the primary communication method of the Victorian era was rendered inoperable.
But you're ready for something just as electrifying that doesn't shut down the global communication network, get ready for fall events at the CLS!
Looking for great speakers? Novelist Dorothea Benton Frank, historians Simon Winchester and Amanda Foreman, and a great schedule of Wide Angle Lunch lecturers will give you plenty of enlightening entertainment. Music will be back better than ever, with the return of Unedited (starting with the Gala on September 16th) and an all new Chamber Music Series. Great programming for the wee 'uns is also on tap: Will Cleveland will have an event featuring his Yo, Millard Fillmore on the 11th of this month, and children's French classes will start soon with the "Petite Ecole". And of course, there are classes and seminars and parties and book signings and all those other events we put on (probably 'cause we librarians hate to be alone in the evenings...)
Check them all out on the website here... and take note of the ticketed events... they're are going quick!