Glowing auroras twinkled in the North Atlantic sky on April 15, 2012 – the night the RMS occurred Titanic Sank. Now, new research suggests that a geomagnetic storm behind the Northern Lights may have disrupted the ship’s navigation and communications systems and impeded rescue efforts, fueling the disaster that claimed more than 1,500 passengers’ lives.
Eyewitnesses described the aurora glows in the region as the Titanic descended, as an observer testified that “the northern lights were very strong that night,” Mila Zinkova, an independent researcher and weather photographer, said in a new study published online on August 4. In the magazine weather.
Aurora is formed from solar storms, when the sun expels high-velocity currents of electrified gas that are directed towards it Land. When charged particles and energy collide with the Earth’s atmosphere, some travel through magnetic field lines to interact with the atmospheric gases, glowing green, red, purple, and blue, NASA says. These charged particles can also interfere with electrical and magnetic signals, causing spikes and oscillations, according to NASA.
A solar storm (also called a geomagnetic storm) strong enough to produce auroras may also have affected the compasses and radio communications on the Titanic and nearby ships trying to aid it. Zinkova said in the study that even a slight malfunction might have been enough to destroy the ship.
And the northern lights were very visible when the Titanic sank. James Besset, Second Officer of RMS Carpathia (the ship that would rescue the survivors of the Titanic) wrote in his record on the night of April 14, 1912: “There was no moon, but the aurora was sparkling like a moonbeam blasting off from the northern horizon.” In a report done five hours later, Zinkova reported that he could still see “green rays” of the aurora as he approached Carpathia from the Titanic’s lifeboats.
Survivors also described spotting the Northern Lights from lifeboats at around 3 a.m. local time. Survivor Lawrence Beasley, a survivor of the Titanic, wrote that the flare “curves in the direction of a fan across the northern sky, with faint bands reaching toward the Polar Star.”
At the same time that the charged particles of a solar storm were generating a beautiful light show, the Titanic’s compass could also be tugged. In the study, Zinkova said that a deflection of just 0.5 degrees would have been enough to steer the ship away from safety and put it on a fatal collision course toward an iceberg.
“It appears that this insignificant error could have made the difference between hitting the iceberg and avoiding it,” she wrote.
The radio signals that night were also “horrific”, according to the operators of the ocean liner RMS Baltic (the Baltic was one of the ships that responded to the Titanic’s distress call, but RMS Carpathia got there first, according to Armstrong Browning Library At Baylor University in Waco, Texas). The SOS signals the Titanic sent to nearby ships were not heard, and no responses were received on the Titanic, according to Zenkova.
“The official report on the sinking of the Titanic indicates that amateur radio amateurs caused interference by jamming the airwaves, and thus prevented the accurate transmission of emergency signals to other ships in the vicinity,” she wrote.
However, at the time, they had incomplete knowledge of the effect geomagnetic storms might have on The ionosphere And disable the connection. It is suggested here that the moderate to strong continuous geomagnetic storm near the aurora had a negative effect on the reception of fine SOS signals from nearby ships, as well as interference from amateur radio operators. ”
Zinkova wrote that if a geomagnetic disturbance occurred from a solar storm, “it may have affected all aspects of the tragedy,” including navigation errors that caused the glacier collision, and failed SOS communications that delayed the arrival of rescue ships.
Although the Titanic sank more than 100 years ago, the story of that ill-fated voyage and its tragic consequences are still exciting and astounding. Items retrieved from that fateful day impose exorbitant price tags at auction, like First-class lunch menu From April 14 that sold for $ 88,000 in 2015, and Flashlight lit by battery Passenger and Survivor sold for $ 62,500 in 2019.
But while the ship’s fame has not been affected, the wreck itself is rapidly disintegrating. When a team of explorers visited the Titanic in August of 2019, the first divers to do so in 14 years, they found that part of the ship’s starboard side – where many state chambers are located – had been eroded by powerful ocean currents, microbes that destroy corrosive minerals and salt. I mentioned Live Science earlier.
Originally published on Live Science.