J. Space Weather Space Clim.
Volume 12, 2022
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||26 January 2022|
Agora – Historical events and observations
The Great Aurora of 4 February 1872 observed by Angelo Secchi in Rome
Department of Physics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Ricerca Scientifica 1, I-00133 Rome, Italy
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 24 December 2021
Observation of auroras at low latitudes is an extremely rare event typically associated with major magnetic storms due to intense Earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejections. Since these energetic events represent one of the most important components of space weather, their study is of paramount importance to understand the Sun-Earth connection. Due to the rarity of these events, being able to access all available information for the few cases studied is equally important. Especially if we refer to historical periods in which current accurate observations from ground-based instruments or space were not available. Certainly, among these events, we must include the great aurora of February 4, 1872. An event whose effects have been observed in different regions of the Earth. What we could consider today a global event, especially for its effects on the communication systems of the time, such as the transatlantic cable that allowed a connection between the United States and Europe since 1866. In this paper, we describe the main results of the observations and studies carried out by Angelo Secchi at the Observatory of the Roman College and described in his Memoria sull’Aurora Elettrica del 4 Febbraio 1872 for the Notes of the Pontifical Academy of new Lincei. This note is extremely modern both in its multi-instrumental approach to the study of these phenomena and in its association between solar-terrestrial connection and technological infrastructures on the Earth. The Secchi’s note definitely represents the first example of analysis and study of an event on a global scale, such as the Atlantic cable, affecting the Earth. What we nowadays call an extreme space weather event.
Key words: aurora / magnetic storm / solar–terrestrial relations / space weather / solar activity
© F. Berrilli & L. Giovannelli, Published by EDP Sciences 2022
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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